Title: In Harmony
Author: Emma Scott
Tagline: “The root of all madness is an unbearable truth...”
The root of all madness is an unbearable truth… At seventeen, Willow Holloway’s life was torn apart. The happy, driven girl is gone, and she is left wracked by post-traumatic stress her body remembers even if she does not. When her father suddenly uproots the family from their posh penthouse in New York City to the tiny town of Harmony, Indiana, Willow becomes more untethered and lost under the weight of her secret. On a whim, she auditions for a part in the community theater’s production of Hamlet and unexpectedly wins the role of Ophelia—the girl who is undone by madness, and her love of Hamlet…
Isaac Pierce is from the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ The town bad boy. Girls pine for his attention and guys are in awe of him. That he’s an acting prodigy only adds to his charisma. Isaac utterly disappears into his characters; the stage is the only place he feels safe from his own traumatic home life. He wants nothing more than to escape to Broadway or Hollywood, and leave Harmony behind for good.
No one can play Hamlet but Isaac, and when the director pairs him with Willow in acting class, they clash again and again—neither willing to open their hearts to anyone. But clashing leads to breaking, breaking leads to the spilling of terrible secrets, and soon Isaac and Willow find Shakespeare’s words mirroring their lives. When they are cruelly torn apart, neither know how this play will end—with madness and heartache? Or healing, love, and the discovery of who they are truly meant to be.
In Harmony is a standalone NEW ADULT love story, and is intended for readers 18 and up. PLEASE NOTE, this book contains sensitive material such as physical abuse, and the aftermath
“Your talent is on a different level. It’s like you cast a spell, tricking us into believing we’re somewhere else. That’s a gift. Sometimes people need a break from their own lives. You give that to them.” This is what Willow says to Isaac after she’s watched him perform on stage for the first time.
This is exactly what Emma Scott makes me feel when I read her words. Her stories. She transports me to another world. Makes me experience every emotion. It’s real and vivid. It’s ugly and it’s beautiful. Her prose and construction of In Harmony is flawless and meticulously executed.
Isaac and Willow have both lost their voices from different outside forces. Not only has Willow’s voice been repressed, her light has been snuffed out because of a sexual assault. Their journey back to rediscovering themselves, reclaiming their voices and power are executed masterfully with the incorporation Shakespeare’s Hamlet. On stage they both find their voices. Together they find solace and trust in one another. They become a unity.
Emma Scott captures something real, authentic and current with In Harmony. Every voice matters. Find the strength to stand up and voice it. Willow’s journey is raw, poignant and emotional. It has to be given the seriousness of the topic. It’s not to be taken lightly and In Harmony is a roller coaster of emotions. It’s a long road towards the light. Willow and Isaac face a lot of resistance and hate but they never give up on one another and themselves.
Thankfully they have a wonderful support system from some pretty amazing people. These secondary characters become as important as Willow and Isaac. Willow’s bestie , Angie and The Fords - Marty and Brenda. They play an integral part to them fighting back and becoming more. A new and stronger version of Willow and Isaac. Two lights that can fight against the wind.
It’s no secret that Emma Scott has cemented herself as a favorite author of mine years ago. In Harmony is her proving that to me once again. The message of this book is powerful and unequivocal. She achieves it with an original storyline and the end result left me feeling hopeful and confident. Not just about today but about the future.
I’m going to end my review with this quote from In Harmony. “I want to thank you for taking me somewhere else for a couple hours. I needed it.” Willow couldn’t have said it any better.
“I’m so…not into being with someone right now,” Willow said with a nervous lilt to her words. “Not for a while, anyway.”I heard a whisper on the breeze, or ever again. A heaviness in her eyes hinted she had lost something and had almost given up trying to find it.She hasn’t given up, I thought, a fierce admiration welling in me. That’s why she’s doing the play. To find it again.In that moment, I vowed to try to cut out all the egotistical bullshit and jealousy over Justin. The dance was out of range now anyway. I couldn’t ask her to go even if I wanted to. Which I didn’t. My job was to help her find what she was looking for in Hamlet, however I could. Even as it dented my eagerness to get the hell out of Harmony.Willow shielded her eyes from the sun and squinted at me. “So what about you?”“What about me?”“Do you like anyone?” she asked, her voice a half tone higher than usual. She laughed. “That’s such a high school thing to ask.”“No,” I said. “If all goes to plan, I’m leaving Harmony, remember? Stupid to start something now.”“Sure. Makes sense.”A silence fell.“Yeah, so I probably won’t go to the dance,” Willow said. “I’m not good in that kind of situation anymore.”“What kind of situation?”She shook her head. “Never mind. I should get back.”Willow started to scoot down off the block. I held my hand out to her to help. She hesitated for a fraction of a second and then took it. I held my other hand out and she took that too. I steadied her as she hopped down and then we were standing face to face. Close enough I could see her pale blue eyes had lighter shards of blue in them, like a topaz. Close enough to smell the sweetness of her breath—coffee tinged with sugar. Close enough to dance if we wanted.“Thanks,” Willow said, gazing up at me.“Sure,” I said.I still held her hands. She didn’t let go.“So,” she breathed, still not moving.“Yeah.”I glanced down at our hands. I hadn’t touched something this soft and good in ages. The sleeve of her coat bunched up and I spied a black mark on the inside of her forearm, close to her wrist. Willow drew in a breath as I turned her hand over. An X, about the size of a quarter, was stark on her pale skin.She tugged her hands away. “I really need to get back.”Every instinct cried out to take her hand again, to ask her what the X meant. To lick my thumb and erase it off her skin. I didn’t know what it meant but the sight of it made my stomach feel heavy.“Willow—”“I doodle when I’m bored. I told you that.” Her voice was sharp but her smile wobbled. “Let’s go.”We walked the short distance back to town wordlessly. Back in front of the theater, Willow shouldered her bag and glanced around. “Thanks for today. I think Martin would be happy with our progress.”“I do too.”God, would he, I thought.“So, I guess I’ll see you ?” she said.“You have a ride home?”“Oh, uh…” She still wouldn’t meet my eyes. “I was thinking of walking.”“To Emerson Hills?” I said. “That’s a mile and a half and it’s getting dark soon.”She raised her brows. “I’m not allowed to walk in the dark?”“You’re allowed,” I said, “but I don’t want you to.”
About Emma Scott
Emma Scott writes romances with flawed characters, characters with artistic hearts: builders, poets, and writers of various makes and models. And love always wins. Always.