Review of The Found Jar by Jaycie Morrison
Emily reluctantly agrees to join her best friends for a three-month vacation in a shared house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sounds idyllic but Emily finds her accommodations unacceptable. When another cottage is found allowing her privacy and seclusion so she can focus on her writing, she is introduced to Beck, a local who will be cleaning her cottage. Beck is an innocent and at times naive young woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury in her teens. Emily writes horror novels and battles nightmares and demons from her past. Beck’s kindness and innocence are a balm for Emily’s tortured soul. Will their friendship develop into the relationship you know they deserve?
This story is told from Emily’s point of view and it’s a dark one. She is not a likeable person yet Beck is drawn to her rare moments of kindness only to be crushed when Emily lashes out at her. The angry outbursts followed by apologies and promises to change her ways are hard to watch and your heart goes out to Beck. She has been used and abused by her friends in the community and now gets the same treatment from this older woman yet nothing seems to dent her pure heart.
It was interesting seeing the contrast between these two women as their relationship developed. One with a TBI who deals with her disability and tries to face her challenges with a positive attitude versus the other with so much emotional baggage that she can’t see past her anger and disgust with herself to allow Beck into her life. Sometimes a character is too good at destroying the happiness of others with her irrational behaviour. Yes, both Beck and Emily have suffered traumas in their past but only Beck appears to have learned how to find the small joys in life and make the most of her talents. The few times when it looks like Emily wants to improve her self-control and acknowledge her attraction to Beck she slips back into her old patterns, convinced she is not worthy of love. It doesn’t help that her agent and best friend Melanie goes out of her way to convince Emily that Beck isn’t worthy of Emily’s affection.
If you are a fan of loads of angst then this might be the read for you. The beach setting and Beck’s pure heart help to offset the frustration I felt with Emily and her issues. There were times when her outbursts made me want to give up on this read, wondering if Emily was capable of change or even self-care. There are kittens and they soften some of the harsher scenes. This is Morrison’s first venture into contemporary romance and she must have missed the light and fluffy memo. The Found Jar is a romance but a dark one. 3 stars
ARC received with thanks from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.