by Freya Barker
Pain punished her.
The bottle numbed her.
Guilt kept her trapped.
In the dark alley of a pub, the words “Please don’t” take hold of her heart and break the silence she seeks. Thinking herself beyond redemption, she tentatively grabs on to the slim thread of hope that unfolds inside of her.
Holding her secrets close, she can’t resist the comforting draw coming from The Skipper. The unconditional friendships it offers, the protective roof it provides, and the spark that its owner ignites in her—melting the frost off her heart, and slowly stripping away her resistance.
His life flows from one crisis to the next. Under the pressure of competition crowding him out of his family’s pub and the need to protect his children from the ruins of a bad marriage, he barely breathes. That is until a mane of strawberry-blonde hair and a set of big, pale blue eyes, shake him up.
He never expected the shadow of a woman he finds on the floor of his washroom to bring him the air―the balance and the light he’s been missing.
One thing I've come to expect from Freya Barker's books is real characters and From Dust is no exception. Don't get me wrong, I love a billionaire dom as much as the next girl but I'll take a hard working, middle class guy over a billionaire any day of the week. That being said, while I loved the fact that the characters in From Dust are relatable, after all the 5 star reviews I saw on Goodreads I was expecting a little more.
To say that Sydney has been dealt a shitty hand in life is putting it mildly. She's been living on the streets for a year when she meets Viv, the manager of the pub that Syd's been living next to, and her life suddenly starts to turn around. Viv gives her a job, warm food, a shower, clean clothes, and the first social interaction she's had in way too long.
Syd is a bit of a mystery throughout most of the story. We know she's living with some major guilt over something that happened in her past but we don't actually find out the what or the how until pretty far in. And when we do? Holy hell, I cried like a baby. Having kids of my own I can totally relate to her and my heart just broke for everything she's been through. Luckily, she has Gunnar to be her rock and help her through her guilt.
Gunnar... What can I say about that man?! Seriously, I absolutely loved him. Of course he wasn't perfect and he had his moments but the love that he has for Syd and his kids, not to mention Viv, is so apparent in the way he acts that I can't fault him for anything. I mean, a hardworking single dad, that's protective and sexy to boot? Sign me up!
While I loved the characters, and even most of the story, I felt that all the drama was just a little too much. We have Gunnar dealing with an alcoholic ex wife, a jealous employee that wants him, competition from a restaurant that's trying to open up on the wharf where his pub is, and a dirty cop, then we have Syd dealing with her guilt, a fire that puts her out of her "home", an instance that happens with a disgruntled delivery guy, her ex, her parents, I mean I could go on and on with all the crap that these two had to deal with and it just got to be way too much for me.
That being said, From Dust wasn't exactly what I was hoping it would be, and in reality it's probably closer to a 3 star read for me but I bumped it up to 4 because I loved Gunnar so much. I'm not sure if this is a standalone or the start of a new series but I'd love a book about Viv. Overall, it was an okay read.
Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of From Dust through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.