Review: DEAR EMILY by Trudy Stiles

Two women. Carly and Tabitha. They each have suffered life-altering events that have left them both traumatically damaged. 

Carly Sloan’s life was perfect until her security and innocence was torn from her. The vast repercussions from these events threaten to destroy her stability and her chances for a happily ever after. Kyle Finnegan comes into Carly’s life at the height of her turmoil. Can he help her find what she desires most?

Tabitha Fletcher has constantly suffered from a very young age. She has been hiding from her past, which was full of sadness, loss and abuse. She has been so brutally damaged that she has very little hope for redemption. The revolving door of men only leads her deeper into misery. 

What circumstance brings these two women together and can they help each other heal? And will they each find what they need? 


“Dear Emily” is the first book in the “Forever Family” series. 

This book is not suitable for young readers. It is intended for mature adults only (18+) containing adult situations, non-consensual sex and some violence.


It isn’t every day that you read a book that reaches down deep and touches your soul. Dear Emily did just that to me. As a mother, I have experienced so many wonderful things as I have watched my children grow over the years. The first time they smiled, their first steps, and so many others moment, and nothing could ever make my heart beat the way my two boys have. I could win the lottery tomorrow and being a mother would still be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Children are the most precious gift anyone could ever be given and I have always admired women who choose adoption. I think giving a child up for adoption is one of the most unselfish things a woman could ever do. To put your child’s well-being and happiness before your own needs is what truly makes a woman a mother. I can’t imagine ever having to make this choice. Being a parent isn’t just about being blood related, it is so much more. Adoption is one of those subjects that is rarely discussed. It is such a blessing for so many families and such a hard choice for others. I applaud Trudy Stiles for writing about such a sensitive subject and showing both viewpoints of adoption. 

“Dear Emily,
I can’t believe that soon you will be here, in our arms, in our lives… We are ready for you, sweetheart. So very ready.
We love you so much already.
See you soon.
Momma & Daddy”

“Dear Emily,
I’m getting ready to say goodbye to you, little girl… You will be part of a perfect family… I hope you understand some day why I made the decision that I have.
I love you sweet girl.

Dear Emily is such a unique story. It is so different than any other book I have read lately. It is about love, loss, growth, family and tough choices. This is a story about Tabitha and Carly. Two women. They each have suffered life-altering events that have left them both traumatically damaged. A story about the love a mother has for her unborn child. One is making a decision to give her child up and the other who is hopeful and forever grateful for the other’s choice. This is about their stories and how they each deal with the impending birth of Emily. A child who will forever join the lives of these two women who come from such different backgrounds, yet are so much alike because they are both survivors. How each woman loves this child who they are yet to meet. How Emily will change their lives and how each got to this point. 

Carly and Tabitha are two of the most likeable characters I have read about in a long time. I’m shocked this is a debut novel because it was written so well. I loved and connected with both characters immediately. I loved the way the book alternated between past and present and how their stories are told. They are completely different from one another yet so much alike. Both experienced serious heartache that no one should ever go through. Carly is older and found her happily ever after. Unfortunately her past still affects her today. She is lucky though because she has a loving and supporting husband, who I loved to pieces! Tabitha is still young and she is trying to find her way. She has been through so much in her short life. She has been forced to do things against her will and never really been on her own. She decides to make a decision that will forever change both women’s lives. It isn’t an easy choice and to watch her struggle with it was heartbreaking. I felt so deeply for both of these women. One will forever be grateful for the other, and the other will live her life hopefully not regretting her decision. Both stories are different but equally as moving. I don’t think I could pick a favorite if I tried. I loved both for different reasons. 

This isn’t a fairy tale book. It is as close to real life as a book can be. Unlike most books where I am swept away to make believe world of rock stars and rich playboys, this a story about real ordinary people. There are several scenes that are disturbing but are so real that I felt it deep down. Life is so ugly sometimes and what these women both experience is unfortunately an actuality for some. I felt their pain as they try to survive and overcome the harshness they are dealt. I cannot say enough how real this book felt. I would highly recommend it! Yes there are some mature scenes and it does end in a cliff but I can’t say enough how much I loved this book. I can’t wait for the next in the series. If you are looking for a book to touch your heart this is the one for you!



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