“The loudest words are the ones we live.”
Don’t mind me, I’ll just be bawling over here in the corner, trying to get a grip on my fragile emotions. Mia Sheridan should include a tiny tissue packet in each of her books, because if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed, it’s that you will cry at least once in any of her books. Sometimes it’s all-out ugly crying, sometimes it’s a single tear accompanied by a sniffle. Mia Sheridan writes unique, gripping, vibrant, and emotional stories. Archer’s Voice was no exception. In fact, I would say this one was eve more emotional than most. There was an underlying sadness throughout the whole story. Archer has a huge disability he has to overcome, and Bree was constantly trying to show him that he wasn’t worthless, and that his disability didn’t define him. This created a melancholy undertone, and a lot of moments where the reader felt the same hopelessness as the characters. Sometimes the sadness was a bit much, which is why I’m not giving this book 5 stars. However, the characters were relatable (for the most part), and the writing was beautiful and touching (as it always is in a Sheridan novel).
As a young boy, Archer Hale witnessed a horrible tragedy that took three members of his family from him, along with his ability to speak. Now he lives as the town hermit, on the outskirts of his small town in Maine. He has accepted his life of solitude. He is content, albeit sad and lonely. But he’s managing just fine, thank you very much…at least until Bree comes along and brings a light into his life he had never anticipated. Bree is dealing with her own special pain. She’s suffering from severe PTSD after witnessing the murder of her father, and her own subsequent trauma of said murderer attempting to rape her. So she flees shortly after college graduation, and settles in the same sleepy Maine town as Archer. Against all odds, she befriends him, and finds herself falling for him. There are countless obstacles in their way, though, and every day is a constant battle against these obstacles.
“Awkward boy. Sweet, silent Archer Hale.”
If there was ever a book character I want to give a nice long bear hug, it’s Archer Hale. He’s been through so much, and yet is someone how still the sweetest guy with a kind heart. He’s not an alpha male with a superiority complex, he’s a kind caring man with a big heart. He has ever right to be bitter and full of rage, and he isn’t. Instead he struggles with some pretty heavy self-esteem issues. Ever since he lost his voice, he has been told he is worthless, and that no one will ever want him. So it’s pretty understandable why he is so hesitant to fall for Bree and let her into his life. He’s scared of opening his heart to love, only to have it be ripped away again, like it was countless times before. And can you blame him? Not only this, but when he begins to realize his relationship with Bree is becoming dangerously co-dependent, he takes a step back and away. He takes the steps needed to ensure a healthy relationship in the future, and not a toxic one filled with the kind of dependency that destroys relationships. I really, really admire him for that, because it’s often hard to be that self-aware and admit you have a dependency problem. Archer not only did that, he took the steps necessary for positive change, and if that’s not awesome, then I don’t know what is.
“We communicated a thousand words, without a single one being spoken.”
Bree, you sweet little ray of sunshine. Bless your heart (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory southern way). Despite the pain she’s been through in her life, she isn’t bitter and angry. And when she recognizes similar pain in another person, she reaches out to them, and uses her pain in a positive way, that creates healing for both parties. That’s incredibly admirable. I wish I could figure out how to do the same thing. She was patient with Archer, and helped him learn at his pace. She mostly communicated with him using sign language, meeting him on equal ground. Seriously, it was so sweet of her to “speak” with him and let him use his own “voice”.
There are a lot of things to love about this book. Sweet characters, the theme of working through pain and hardship, and the emphasis on the positive effects of the healing process. There also wasn’t a lot of teenage drama in this book, for which I was incredibly grateful. All too often that plagues New Adult/Contemporary romances. Mia Sheridan didn’t let that taint this beautiful story though (bless her). I’m giving it four stars because it was a little slow-paced, and there was a lot more sadness in it than in her other books.That being said, this book still captivated me from start to finish. If you’re looking for another incredible, moving, and touching romance, look no further than Archer’s Voice. And check out Mia Sheridan’s other novels while you’re at it.