Let the Lover Be by Sheree L. Greer is an unflinching look at one woman’s decent into the final throws of alcoholism and the moment of clarity that finally allows her to tap into the feelings she’s run from her entire life.
Kiana Lewis is a barely functional alcoholic. She’s stumbling through life with little regard for herself or the pain she’s causing others. She uses alcohol to chase away the painful memories of her mother’s horrific death. She’s a drunk living a dead-end existence. When she gets an invitation to her ex-girlfriend’s wedding, she makes the rash decision to skip a tour of a rehab facility and head off to New Orleans to put a stop to the wedding.
From the moment Kiana arrives in the Big Easy she doesn’t draw a sober breath. After a day and night of drinking, she wakes up in a strange bed in a house she has no memory of entering.
Genevieve Durand noticed Kiana stumbling out of a bar and brought her back to the safety of her home. Genevieve is kind, disarming, and spiritual. She’s not at all what Kiana is looking for. Genevieve’s ability to penetrate Kiana’s hard veneer is disarming. Like alcohol, Genevieve is intoxicating. When they’re together, Kiana finds herself feeling things about her mother’s death she’d rather forget. Genevieve has a peace about her that makes Kiana see the destructive ways she uses to cope with life.
When Kiana hits rock bottom, she must choose between a drink or acknowledging her demons. Is she ready to move forward or will she forever be stuck in this cycle of self-destruction?
Honestly, it’s very difficult to like Kiana. She’s selfish, reckless, and full of excuses. She attributes her ex for her problems, and when she’s not doing that, there’s always something or someone else to blame. She and her sister lost their mother when she was five, and she’s never been willing to examine her feelings surrounding it. She began drinking at an early age to numb herself from the feelings of abandonment and anger. Going to New Orleans is her last-ditch effort to solve what she thinks is wrong with her life. But she’s actually running from herself. Once the lightbulb goes on, and Kiana realizes that her ex isn’t her problem, she becomes completely relatable. Uncovering the wound that set her disease in motion, is her saving grace. But as is the case with some addicts, she’s got to hit rock bottom before she has her moment of clarity. When she finally acknowledges she’s an alcoholic, the story ends on a positive note. Kiana is finally able to look forward rather than be stuck in the past.
Genevieve is like something out of a dream. She’s positive, kind, and she always seems to know what’s going on with Kiana’s broken spirit. She challenges Kiana’s ideas of victimhood, suggesting she look at her own part in things rather than what everyone else has done to her. She opens Kiana’s eyes to the life she could have if she stopped running from her life. She also suggests Kiana put down the bottle. Like Kiana, Genevieve has her own demons and through the course of the story the reader comes to understand Kiana and Genevieve aren’t entirely different. I think Genevieve was a beacon of hope for Kiana.
The Writing Style
The story is told in third person from Kiana’s point of view. This choice makes perfect sense when exploring Kiana’s intoxicated state. It’s not unusual for Kiana to wake up in a strange place and the reader experiences the same disorientation she does.
Greer’s dialogue perfectly reflects where both women are in their lives. Kiana speaks in short, curt sentences that are sometimes emotional outbursts. There’s a drunk quality to the dialogue, but not in any over the top way. Kiana sometimes talks to herself and often refers to everyone as “buddy”. Genevieve is full of positive affirmations which reveal a lot about her, and by the end of the novel it’s clear why.
My Favourite Parts
I so enjoyed being submersed in the culture of New Orleans. Greer does a fantastic job of bringing the city to life. Every sight, sound, taste, and smell felt authentic, and it was easy to get lost in this amazing city. I’ve never been to The Big Easy, but I’m ready to pack my bags and hop on a plane.
I first want to make sure you know this isn’t a romance. It’s an authentic story about personal demons that lead to alcoholism. This might be a trigger for some readers.
This isn’t an easy book to read. Having said that, I was drawn to it because Greer’s unflinching portrayal of an alcoholic in her last throws of the disease is very much like not being able to look away from an oncoming train wreck. Train wreck is honestly a good phrase to describe Kiana’s week in New Orleans. In the final chapters of the book, Greer provides the reader an opportunity to share in Kiana’s hope for a brighter future. If you’re in the mood for a gritty story, then check this one out.
Excerpt from Let the Lover Be by Sheree L. Greer
“What’s wrong?” Genevieve looked into Kiana’s eyes with concern.
“Nothing,” Kiana said, looking away. The soulful light in Genevieve’s eyes invited Kiana to come closer, called her in from the cold darkness of her own painful memories in such an easy, obvious way that it caught her off guard. It was too much. “It’s just…I keep trying to get comfortable with you. And I can’t. You make me think about things I don’t want to think about. Things that I push away, things that I…”
“Try to drown with drinks,” Genevieve said.
Kiana turned to her with a frown. “That kind of shit right there. That’s…” She grabbed her drink from the table, the wine sloshing around the bowl of the glass. She drank, tilting her head back. She refilled her glass, emptying the bottle.
“I’m sorry, Kiana,” Genevieve said. “It’s just that there’s something about you that I really like, and I know we just met, but…”
“You don’t even fucking know me,” Kiana said. She held the wine glass, rolling the wine around, watching the legs drip down and the red wine swirl. She drank. She looked at Genevieve out of the corner of her eye, unable to resist watching her as she furrowed her brows in thought and concern. Kiana wanted to make a move, a kiss or a touch, something to move from the emotional to the physical, but she felt stuck. She needed something easy, something like a balm for the stinging mess that was her insides but being around Genevieve challenged her to go deeper than topical relief; she felt like Genevieve was offering her a healing. She wasn’t sure she really wanted to be healed, didn’t even know if it would work.
“You don’t know me, Genevieve,” she repeated, hating that she was even thinking so deeply about it. Kiana stared at the blood red wine in her glass.
“I’m trying to get to know you,” Genevieve said. “But, baby, you making that shit hard.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626390775
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Sheree L. Greer Online
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