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From Dust (Portland ME #1)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  437 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
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
Published August 2015 by Freya Barker
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Wow...this book was amazing. I have put off reading it because I was worried it would be too depressing for me. While it does deal with some very heavy subjects, it's also a book of hope and love. It's about having the strength to pull yourself up from that hole and begin to live again.

Syd was an amazing heroine. I cannot imagine going through all she went through before she made it to Portland. Her grief and loneliness was almost too much to bare. But the fact that she started to turn her life
Jenny - TotallybookedBlog
Jul 21, 2015 Jenny - TotallybookedBlog rated it really liked it

‘The place where my heart sat frozen in my chest for so long is becoming too warm a place.’

We were quite excited to start this story as it ticked everything we were in the need of. There’s not many 30 – 40 something romances out there which we love to read; team that up with a passionate romance, some heavy and dramatic storylines and we were hooked! This is our first Freya Barker but it certainly won’t be our last as we loved her writing.

“You running Syd?”

“Only from my past.”

Syd is a broken s
Lillian ᴥᴥᴥ SO LYLY
**** 4.5 Stars ****


I loved this story! I couldn't stop reading. There's so much drama (the good kind of course).

Syd is broken and damaged. Something tragic happened in her past, and she blames herself for it. With no will to live, she wandered around like a homeless person until a woman noticed her in a dumpster.

Viv sees Syd looking for scraps behind The Skipper. She realizes the woman in the dumpster is educated and too clean for a homeless person. As the manager of a pub, Viv offers Syd a jo
4.25 stars to 4.5 stars

Freya Barker really did an excellent, beautiful job of showing the heroine's emotional healing and journey to happiness, after experiencing an absolutely unimaginable tragedy. I am completely wowed and impressed by how she wrote this. By the time I turned the last kindle page, I was absolutely swooning over the couple, and I was 100% emotionally fulfilled by how Barker tied up every loose thread. Sydney and Gunnar had built something so beautiful together, after going thro
When I requested this title from Netgallery a few things caught my attention immediately. This wasn’t just a story of two perfect people meeting and falling in love. This was a story of a woman that broken and saved, given a chance at a new life. Typically it’s the hero that grabs my attention, but this time it was all about Syd.

Syd knows all about loss, guilt and pain. Once she knew about love, but that all ended in tragedy. Now homeless, Syd is given a chance at a new life when a helping hand

I really did love this book from the author Freya Barker. I have read one other book by her and felt the same way, she has a lovely style of writing that is so fully explained and laid out, you can't help but feel you are part of the cast.

Syd is on the streets. She's not a child, she's a woman. How she got there will enfold as you read on. Its a tragic story that brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat whilst reading.

Syd sleeps in a dark shed on her own, just her and her rucksack and h
Deserie williams
Aug 09, 2015 Deserie williams rated it really liked it
This read hit close to home for me in dealing with loss:( . H And h were great. This book was about healing and forgiving. I got to the end and it just ended no epilogue I really wanted to see them more in the future but other than that good read.

Safety: There is a sexual assault scene and two deaths. They both have exes who try and cause alittle drama but nothing real bad. No other women or man. Nothing really on their sexual pasts but neither were manwhores:) Alittle insecurities from h that c
Jun 19, 2015 Kerry-Ann rated it it was amazing

This story blew me away from the first page. It deals with serious issues but is also heart-warming as it proves that everyone deserves a second chance at happiness and redemption.

This author is one of my favourites as she writes about characters that are flawed and real. Sydney is dealing with demons from her past but with two words…”Please don’t”…, is given the lifeline she so desperately needs. She is a great character who has been dealt the worst hand possible but shows strength to overcome
Gitte TotallyBookedBlog
Aug 26, 2015 Gitte TotallyBookedBlog rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015

‘The place where my heart sat frozen in my chest for so long is becoming too warm a place.’

We were quite excited to start this story as it ticked everything we were in the need of. There’s not many 30 – 40 something romances out there which we love to read; team that up with a passionate romance, some heavy and dramatic storylines and we were hooked! This is our first Freya Barker but it certainly won’t be our last as we loved her writing.

“You running Syd?”

“Only from my past.”

Syd is a broken s
Jun 18, 2015 Pam rated it it was amazing

OMG...This book is brilliant and I am soo not ready for it to be over yet. Definite book hangover going on here. Trying to thing back so I can put my review into words and I am tearing up again (mostly good tears).

When we meet Syd she is at her absolute very worst. She is living on the streets, sleeping in a shack, searching for food and essentials. Scared and thankful when she is caught and approached in the dumpster. After being isolated fo so long she i
Jul 02, 2015 Leanne rated it it was amazing
From Dust blew me away! This is hands down the best book I have read in a long time. From Dust tells the story of Syd. A young individual carrying secrets no one should have to. Syd lives in extreme isolation in the harshest conditions one could imagine, never knowing what would happen next. Syd meets Viv purely by accident and makes Syd the simplest offer one can. Which in turn is powerfully altering for Syd and life as Syd knows it slowly starts to change.
This novel is packed with overwhelming
Aug 16, 2015 Cyndi rated it really liked it
I think this is a very well written book. I liked Syd and felt horrible for what she went through in her past. I also liked Gunnar and thought he was a great hero! He was sweet to Syd and supported her while she regained her strength- mentally and physically. My problem with this book is the extra drama that was added. Syd's past is enough drama by itself, but the author added ex drama, sexual assault, vindictive ex employee and sabotage by a cop and competing restaurant owner. It was too much i ...more
Freya Barker
Jun 18, 2015 Freya Barker rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well.... I wrote it, and I'm guessing it wouldn't make sense if I didn't like it—but this one I seriously LOVE. Writing this story dragged me through some deep places and pulled out pretty strong emotions. Yes, even while writing it.

Anyone who has read any of my books knows that 'overcoming' is an important component for me. People who are dealing with physical or emotional limitation, finding their own way through. I say 'through' purposely because you never escape from or get over such intrin
Lisa Cullinan
Feb 26, 2016 Lisa Cullinan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love matters ...

From Dust is a tragically beautiful story about a deeply scarred woman (Syd) who is literally pulled out from the depths of self inflicted pain after suffering an unimaginable loss.
Syd is found in a dumpster outside of The Skipper, a local pub/eatery, looking for food. While the pub's manager, Viv, is throwing out garbage, she notices Syd and coaxes her into the closed pub for a hot meal and a warm room. Viv senses more about Syd than what meets the eye.
Through Viv's kindness,
Jul 01, 2015 Shandi rated it really liked it
ARC received from author in exchange for review

3.5 stars

From Dust starts with Sydney who is living in a shed on a wharf in Boston. She is cold, hungry, and scared. I think she is at the end of her rope and you really feel for her. One night she is caught dumpster diving by an employee of the The Skipper a restaurant on the wharf.

Sydney’s life takes a turn for the better when she is offered a meal, warm place to stay, and then a job. Gunnar Lucas is the owner of The Skipper and he comes across
Jul 15, 2015 Kirsty rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book but for whatever reason it just wasn't for me.

It took me a long time to read the book because I just didn't find myself wanting to pick it up. From the blurb I was excited to dig in, it sounded like a deep, gritty sort of book but I just don't feel like that come through in the story. It was very slow to start and whilst the characters' background stories were upsetting and at times, pretty dark, there wasn't ever anything that was too shocking.

Perhaps my dislike of th
Sydney has hit rock bottom. Unable to forgive herself for a tragic accident, she walks away from everything she has ever known until a stranger reaches out to her with compassion.
As Sydney rebuilds her life she finds love and family in the most unlikely of places.
From Dust is a beautiful written novel. The characters are genuine and the sensitive issues they face are approached in a realistic manner. This novel is (I hope) the start of a wonderful new series.
Sep 22, 2015 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Shelves: arc
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

“Years of frozen emotions are starting to thaw and the process is almost painful. How long has it been since someone cared? How long since I cared?”

“I am rewarded with the same bright smile. It hits me right in the chest as well, but runs through me like a soft breeze, blowing the dust that has settled on my heart.”

“My emotions seem to be coming alive under the influence of good people and warm food. My heart is defrosting and it hurts like my fingers do when warming up after bei
Aug 09, 2015 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: made-me-cry, arc
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 m
Karen Hrdlicka
Jul 03, 2015 Karen Hrdlicka rated it it was amazing
Each book I read by Freya Barker has been better crafted than the last one. As an author, I think Ms. Barker has found her voice and in From Dust that voice is strong. This is an emotional story of one woman's journey back from her own personal hell. To me, Sidney is the epitome of a broken woman. The tragedy in her past would be nearly impossible for any woman to come to terms with. Add to that a husband and parents who turned on her in her time of need and you have a woman living on the edge. ...more
4.5 star rating only because of the seemingly rushed ending. Otherwise this was one emotional journey riddled with family, heartache, and a beautiful romance. Syd's story will pull you in and claim your heart when you hear and feel what she has been through. With the love of a beautiful man, his two children, and a new found friend, Syd makes it her mission to be strong and resilient in her quest to live. She is one remarkable character as is the gruff and hugely passionate man, Gunnar, that str ...more
Daniela Prima
Jun 19, 2015 Daniela Prima rated it it was amazing
Oh my Lord! Such an amazingly and beautifully written book. I loved it, I truly did and I know that this story will stay with me for a very long time.

I rather enjoy being lost in the world that the author describes for me, and what a world Freya creates! I felt like I was living along side of her characters and that these were my friends. I felt their pain and completely relished their happiness and joy.

Very rarely will I feel compelled to make notes or write things down while reading a book; bu
Nancy Huddleston
Jun 18, 2015 Nancy Huddleston rated it it was amazing
From Dust by Freya Barker is an inspiration to anyone. This is an emotional read. Her characters are magnificently flawed. They are not perfect. They make mistakes. They learn. They grow. They survive.
I adore Sydney. She is a strong woman. She is a broken little Bird learning to fly again.
Gunner is my newest and most special book boyfriend. He is an alpha male looking out for those he loves. His attraction to Syd leads to a hot,sweet love. Its beautiful to watch both accept and receive the gift
Jun 18, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing
From Dust took me on an amazing emotional roller coaster ride and I loved it! From start to finish, I did not put this book down once as I read it in a marathon few hours of page turning. Syd's transformation from the time we meet her through the final page is like watching the phoenix rise from the ashes with a pretty heavy dose of turmoil and struggle to get there, but she emerged from each trial stronger for it as she slowly glues her shattered pieces back together with help from her newfound ...more
JG ~ Jezabell Girl & Friends

Wow, what an emotionally charged read!

This is my first Freya Barker book and I have to say, I loved it. The writing was eloquent and the emotion palpable. What Syd experienced at the hands of her family following the horrific accident which led her to where she is today was cruel and wretched. Despite living rough and finding herself cold and starving though, Syd finds hope of a safer future thanks to Viv, a kind hearted woman who takes her in, offers her food, a job and a place to rest her head
Harlow Stone
Aug 09, 2015 Harlow Stone rated it it was amazing

From Dust is mature romance with angst, heartbreak, loss and love. If you’re looking for a new page turner- this is it.

I love that Freya has left out the ever present and unnecessary catty drama that I often come across in books. She wrote a believable story with intelligent characters that define the meaning of ‘being the bigger person’.

It was such a pleasure to read about a strong character (Sydney) and how she was able to not only live and learn from her past, but also used her heartbreak an
Stephanie Powell
Jul 17, 2015 Stephanie Powell rated it it was amazing
Review coming trying to figure out how to explain this book. So far I've had one book that has been exceptional in 2015 now after reading this book I have two.

Here's my review still in a loss for words the magnitude this book takes you. It teaches you to think how would you deal or live in a similar situation.
Wow this author has left me breathless at the moment. My friend messaged me and asked if I could read this at first I won't lie because I was reluctant. Not because I didn't think it was g
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Author of the popular Cedar Tree series, as well as the critically acclaimed standalone “From Dust,” Freya Barker is driven to make her stories about 'real' people; with characters who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills, and some hot, sizzling sex in their lives.

Recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” Fre
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Other Books in the Series

Portland ME (4 books)
  • Cruel Water (Portland ME, #2)
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