Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.
Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.
When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she’s surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.
Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?
In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.
Why did I pick this?
I actually heard about this book while stalking my bestie Autumn’s blog The Autumn Review. She had a promotional post on one of Debra Anastasia’s other books Crushed Seraphim. I browsed through the blog stops and wanted to know more so I totally stalked her out. Anastasia contacted me via goodreads and offered her books for me to read. I read Poughkeepsie first. I was drawn to the cover really. I love this cover. So very much. And after reading the book, I love it even more. So perfect.
What did I think?
Where do I even start? This book just absolutely blew me away. Every once in a while you get a book that completely blows your mind. For me, this was one of those books.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started this and I was completely enthralled. Every page had something special that just kept me glued. Every character had me falling in love with them. I just cannot get over how much I truly enjoyed this book.
Keep in mind that this really isn’t your normal love story. There are twists, turns, heartbreak, action and laughs. This book really has it all. I loved the fact that this was unlike anything I’ve ever read.
There are 6 total characters in this book. So you have a total of 6 stories that are presented. Of course the main story is really about Blake and Livia but the other stories all play a part. One of the best things about this book is you get to see every point of view and learn about everybody’s story.
Livia is just a normal woman who gets on a train every morning. She smiles at everyone as she waits for her train. She doesn’t really think anything of it. But she always makes sure to smile at the homeless man who sleeps at the station. You never know what effect just a simple smile can do.
Blake waits for Livia everyday. He counts every smile she makes. he needs them like he needs the air to breathe. Blake had a rough childhood and is now homeless and sleeps at the train station in Poughkeepsie. But the one thing that makes it all worth while is Livia’s smile.
When I got to see things from Blake’s POV, it really touched my heart. It makes you think about things that you overlook. How a simple kindness will go a long way. He broke my heart and made me fall in love with him.
When some punk kids try to mess with Blake at the train station, and Livia steps up and stands up for him. That one connection makes a spark that turns into a flame that will overtake them.
Livia and Blake see and talk to each other now everyday and they quickly became utterly infatuated with each other.
The book is centered around Blake and Livia but you also get to take a look inside the other players in the book.
Kyle (Livia’s hilarious sister): Kyle was a favorite of mine for her bluntness and crass attitude. She was the much needed comic relief. She had me laughing so hard. Especially when she would snark with her sister Livia. Here is a sample:
“You grabbed my tit a little Mr. Old Timey Talker” (referring to Blake 😉 )
Cole: He is one of Blake’s brothers and also a priest. Like Blake’s other brother, Beckett, he is fiercely protective of Blake. His heart is in the right place when it comes to Blake.
Beckett: Beckett is the loudmouth bad-boy brother. Beckett is into bad things in this book. But he has a heart of gold and he sort of does them for the right/wrong reasons. It’s hard to explain without being too spoilery but even though he does really bad things, he thinks he does them for the right reasons. He is also another comedy relief in this book. But he has a bad mouth along with it.
“The government’s beating us down, and it all begins with those goddamn lines in the parking lot. Set yourself free, my brother. If you see a line, ignore it.”
Eve: I think that besides Blake, Eve was my favorite character. She is a very strong woman that will literally kick your ass. She had me pumping my fist so many times and I loved her strength. But she is seriously like an assasin.
“I can rip your heart out of your chest and take a bite while it’s still beating. I can kill your body before your brain dies. Am I pretty now, motherfucker?
There is another character that I completely fell in love with. He wasn’t exactly a main character but he will definately nestle his was into your heart and stay there. Two words to remember: Mouse. Patterns. You’ll understand when you read it.
This story was completely captivating and I had such a hard time pulling myself away from reading it all in one sitting. But, alas, I have to work. 😉
I highly recommend this book. To everyone (over the age of 18 of course). The meaning behind this book is truly beautiful. I will read this so many more times. All the connections are real and bone deep. I read this book over a week ago and I’m still reeling from it all.
There were so many quotes I adored in this book. So I’m going to share a couple~
Her eyes had found his and shocked him. Blake was used to the blank, anesthetized eyes of those looking everywhere but at him. Her smile was resuscitation for his soul. Me! She sees me.
“Livia, you make the rest of the beautiful things in the world cry for even trying at all. You make it hard for me to breathe.” Blake looked reluctant to move.
Cole’s body had heaved with tears. She kept hugging him. She handed his heart back the dreams it had thrown away.