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“You’re my kind of extraordinary. Levi Carillo, you’re the sweetest of souls.”
SWEET HOME, the final book in Tillie Cole's Sweet Home series, pulled at my heart strings on so many levels. This story of two lost souls finding and healing each other was heartbreaking yet beautiful.
Levi Carrillo, the youngest of the Carillo brothers was always the shy and quiet boy in the previous books. Forced into a street gang and losing his beloved Mama at such a tender age, Levi was a lost soul still haunted by his Mama's death, and unable to move forward until he met Elsie Hall, his "Mia Luna". Elsie's life was not full of sunshines and rainbows - partially deaf herself and with a deaf and drug addicted mother, Elsie's life so far was lived either on the streets or in group homes. Her disability made her the target of vicious bullies. Bullying is a major subject in this book and kudos to Tillie Cole for showing that bullying can take place at any stage in a person's life.
When their two worlds collide, we see these two lonely, lost souls heal each other. Both are SO tortured and haunted by their pasts but yet together, they bring light into each other's lives: “Because you’re the center of my world. To me, that is the most special thing in life. To be that important, that vital to another’s happiness. It’s not just special, it’s priceless.”
This emotionally charged, sweet story had me choking back tears. My heart ached for the cruelty suffered by Elsie and to Levi's recollections of his Mama. And their journey of love, trust and acceptance was deeply moving and soul shattering. I loved seeing where all the other characters were in their lives. You really get a real sense of family and friends throughout this book and series! And of course, the epilogue was amazing, in true Ms. Cole style!! 4.5 Twin Souls stars!!
I downloaded this book when it first came out, but left-off reading it as I knew it would be a challenge. It was! Emotionally charged, sad, sweet, tender, loving, intimate and brave. Oh, you know...run the whole gamut of feelings...it's a weepy, so grab a box of tissues. As usual, Tillie's standard of writing was excellent - creating a great plot, expertly using narrative structure and giving a lot of thought to character development. Levi was a completely different boy to his brothers and his love story was more of an innocent, sentimental and gently told journey. The approach to this narrative had an almost religious feel as we followed how Levi and his bella mia twin-soul, Elsie, connected and moved forward to form both an emotional and physical relationship...they gave of themselves and as an extension they both grew and stepped out of their invisible prisons. Essentially slow-paced, this pairing of two delicate people was portrayed beautifully by Tillie. Along the way, each of them must dig deep to meet the demands that life heaped on them, while at the same time revealing their secrets and painful pasts to each other...two taciturn people who learned to trust each other enough to converse, a torture for them.Their challenge was to learn to cope in a cruel world where soft and sensitive was stomped upon...a tough ask for the sweet, sensitive, tentative and perceptive young couple. They each had to find their 'voice'. A few additional thoughts: There were times when I was cringing in anticipation of another situation or insensitive clod who might further fracture the couple's hearts. A touching parallel was drawn between Levi & Elsie and the Greek myth Hero & Leander and the significance of the lamp in the final section of Sweet Soul. It was also wonderful to catch-up with the other Sweet Home characters as they contributed to the story.The message of the story...live and let live...simply put, just be kind! Tillie is such a generous writer...where will she take us next?
Absolutely loved it. I love that each book in this series has an important message that needs to be told. Levi and Elise are so perfect for each other, they are twin souls. I can't believe it's over. A definite must read.
Oh my god, I did not think this series could get any better. If Sweet Soul is the last of the Sweet Home series (and I will continue to hope and pray that it's not) then this is the perfect ending. I LOVED IT! What more can I say really.
In this 5th book in the Sweet Home series Levi the youngest Carrillo boy is living with his brother Austin, his wife and their son while he finishes college; but in his shyness and loneliness he is only living half a life. Study and football are his only outlets and he cannot get over the circumstances and death of his mother. He discovers a homeless girl Elsie who lives rough and is quite ill. His efforts to help Elsie force him out of himself, and in doing this he finds she has as many if not more demons than he has. They begin to heal each other and in doing so find their soulmates in this sweet story of first love and in fact first everything. Love this series and love Tillie Cole's writing so a perfect combination. This series needs to be read in order really, however extremely highly recommended.