Beatrice Reviews “Nine Years” by Jessica Reed

“Nine Years” by Jessica Leed
★★★★☆

Nine Years: A novel (Beneath the Clouds Book 1) by [Leed, Jessica]

You would think Sienna Henderson had the perfect life. She has a successful career, a loving family and is engaged to be married. From the outside she appears to have it all together, yet on the inside she is coming undone.

Caught inside a dysfunctional relationship and with her work environment intolerable, she finds herself slipping further from the life she has envisioned.

After reuniting with a man from her past, Sienna’s life is turned upside down in a way that has her questioning everything she has ever known.


Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for free on the Reedsy platform, for an honest and unbiased review.

I like to think I’m a contemporary romance ‘connoisseur’ of sorts, having read many books in this genre. I started reading “Nine Years”, not quite sure what to expect, but Jessica Leed knocked her debut novel out of the park.

A beautiful tale of romance, self-discovery and growth, “Nine Years” follows Sienna Henderson and her plight as she struggles to right the wrongs in her long-term but dysfunctional relationship while trying not to lose more of herself in the process. Things get even more complicated when a past she had let go of resurfaces, only to have her confronting parts of herself she had forgotten were still there.

I think what struck me the most about this novel is how relatable it is. Not all of us have been through the exact same struggles that Sienna faces in the novel but we can all relate, on some level, to the pain of holding onto something so dear to you, even when it starts to destroy you as an individual.

That being said, it is incredibly challenging to write a story of this nature and create people that the reader can emotionally connect to but the author does a wonderful job of crafting a well-rounded set of characters.

There is no concrete villain. There is no good or bad, right or wrong. Although we explore the story through Sienna’s eyes, all the characters are well thought-out and portrayed in a multi-dimensional way, making them more human.

I do feel the pacing of the novel could have been a little faster. Although I am not willing to comment on the necessity of certain plot points (given they might be set up to tie in with the sequel), the novel could have been a little shorter in length to increase the impact and have the story resonate even more with the reader.

All in all, a beautiful story and written in an equally evocative manner, I highly recommend “Nine Years” to fans of the contemporary romance genre. The downside? You’ll have to put in some waiting time for the sequel.

Jessica Leed does a wonderful job delivering with this book.

Relationships are challenging and through Sienna, we explore the many complexities and obstacles that can crop up in one. The question the novel poses is: how far are you willing to go to try and save your relationship? At what point do you stop and save yourself?

| am i wrong? |

Am I wrong to want you?

To go through the memories of us on repeat
my mind a broken record as I
pause | and play >
pause | and play >
your smile till it’s all I see
till the end of my days

Am I wrong to feel you?

In the emptiness of the sheets
in the cold of the night when I crave
your arms around my waist
and your breath near my ear
as you whisper lullabies like secrets
till we meet again in my dreams

Am I wrong to taste you?

When I take a bite out of an apple
or sink my teeth into the sweetness of chocolate
so close to the kisses you once gave me
in each one you etched on my lips
and into my memories
in the pouring rain
in between our secret getaways
in the endless hours we spent making love
till i felt nothing but you in my bones
in my soul

Am I wrong to believe in you?

To cling to the hope that one day you’ll see
there’s no greater love for you out there than than me
to the heart of mine you still carry in yours
broken, but still bound by the strings
of our Great Grand romance

Am I wrong to love you?

To keep loving you, knowing that
despite the hope; despite the memories
you will not return to me
or honor the promise you once made
to love me too till the end of time

Am I wrong

to keep drifting in and out of a world
where you are, immortalized in the past
while i continue to fade away
absent to an existence
in which i cannot live
(without you)

UNREQUITED [adjective] 1. not returned or reciprocated; unrequited love - a type of love which is not returned. 2. not avenged or retaliated. 3. not repaid or satisfied. Etymology: from un-, “not” + re, “again” + quite, variant of quit, “exempt,...

| broken daydreams |

♪ listen ♪

delicate black lashes graze my fingertips as i turn
to capture the wonder in his star-studded eyes

“what do you feel?”

he breathes and i smile at his
curious little question

“tell me, please,” he sings a whisper
(does he want to feel it too?)

i wish i could tell you:

how it feels to be blinded
become one with the dream
that i cannot bear to touch right in front of me

how i hear the universe breathe
a wistful serenade
for you and i as we lie
beneath its velveteen skies

how i long for a taste of your soul
as the layers to your broken, bleeding heart unfurl
for me to touch
naked. bare. vulnerable

you.

“what do i feel?”

i am enchanted
by a Miracle

“nothing. nothing at all.”


| come home, darling |

♪ listen ♪

i dream you are out there – some/where
floating in the ether
as lost as i but
towards me
you’d wander

we’d find each other by the tips of our
starkissed fingers
and the universe would shatter
the Gods would weep

i would touch your broken pieces
cut myself on the rough edges of your
pure, glimmering soul
i would bleed, my love
for you, i would

for if to have you, i must dream
dream i shall
enough to fill this wanting little heart
enough to hope
to see

you will return
you will come home to me
and i will wait

for our forever.

Under the Stars - Bodie Lighthouse


| revelation |

listen

you breathe
and i break
as i watch you weave magic in your careless, unfiltered way
that sinful mouth parts and out tumble your tales
and i wish that i could show you that
you’re more than your mistakes

you still can’t see, can you?
how i’m fighting to sit still
and not trace your imperfections
with the tips of my trembling lips.

you can’t see –
how i’m doing everything in my power
to not fall deeper into your laugh
or into the kindness in the pools of your chocolate eyes

you can’t see.
but: i do.

then one day
you turn with this catch in your breath
that stills my own heart
and you ask me, eyes wide,
“what does love look like?”
(i break a little more)
and shrug
“if only i knew”

oh, but i do, my darling:
it looks like you.

Para alcanzar lo que nunca has tenido, tendrás que hacer lo que nunca has hecho.
this is all i ask for.


A Sweet Scintillating Solitude 

When my friend casually asked me what plans I had for Valentine’s Day, I replied, “Netflix, minus the chill,” and we laughed. Hard. A majority of my friends are wonderfully single – reveling in the freedom that a lack of a relationship status gives us. I’m here to tell you that Valentine’s Day is just as much a celebration for us single peeps, as much as it is for the world’s abundance of couples.

ill-be-celebrating-valentines-day-han-style-olo

In India, teenagers entering a relationship is done so with careful scrutiny and as a result, Valentine’s Day isn’t as celebrated as I had expected it to be. My committed friends fear arousing the suspicions of their parents by going out on V-Day which is a normal precaution in an Indian context. It’s a striking contrast to what I experienced in England – where I’ve seen parents encourage their teenage kids to go out with their respective partners. But I’m not here to discuss cultural differences. At least, not today.

For starters, I personally believe that in the old days, Valentine’s Day stood for something. Now, it’s merely an opportunity for the exploitation of mass consumers by profit-thirsty businesses that are just waiting to pounce. That could be the influence of my business degree acting up but, think about how commercial it’s become. Even if I were in a relationship, I wouldn’t want my boyfriend to feel obligated to buy me anything or do anything on Valentine’s Day. Even then, it’s just like any other day because if I were truly in love, every day would be Valentine’s Day.

ovd2

Best Valentine’s Day card ever.

But considering the fact that I’m happily single (it’s not a myth), I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely okay to not be all about the romance today, or any other day for the matter. Here’s why:

  • You’re single and you’re awesome. Cheesy as hell, I know, but true. You don’t need a relationship to validate your self-worth. You don’t need a date on the supposedly most romantic day of the year to feel special. Learn to love yourself – take that figuratively or literally, whichever is fine as long as you’re happy.

    'Too pricey? Perhaps you wish to see something in macaroni and spray paint?'

  • V-Day Savings – Keeping the big-bad-businesses and corporate culture I mentioned before in mind, if you’re single and on a budget, you would end up saving a huge chunk of your pocket money. You can spend it on food instead. Need I say more?
  • Flirting galore – not that I’m an expert on this topic but remember, you’re not the only single one on the planet today. All of us are looking to have a little flirty-fun, even more so on the 14th of February. Whether it’s casual or all about the play, enjoy your singlehood!
  • ‘Gal’entine’s Day – All the single ladies, put your hands up cause this one’s for you. My girlfriends coined this term today as we finished college and strode out like the total single bosses we are. Why focus on your partners today when you can share the love with your girlfriends? After all, they’ve been there for you through thick and thin, through your singlehood and relationships too. Make it all about the squad.

    all-3

  • Candy Hog – No bae, means no sharing. Which fortunately for you means you can hog the Valentine’s Day candies on sale all for yourself.
  • You’re your own BOSS – There’s no stress to buy presents and make today perfect for your significant other. You can do whatever the hell you want because you are the ruler of your universe. Sleep, game, binge-watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S or do literally anything else you want. It’s up to you.

That, my fellow single-buds, is why today rocks.

Embrace the solitude. Feel the freedom. Dance naked around a tree. Empower yourselves. (Something’s out of sorts here).

Just…be your own Valentine and everything else about today will come secondary to how amazing you really are.