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From Dust

(Portland ME #1)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  741 ratings  ·  186 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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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  741 ratings  ·  186 reviews

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✰ Liz ✰
"Everything that we've been through-all the pain and the anguish-has brought us right here."

From Dust is a contemporary romance full of pain, passion, and real romance. Syd is a woman who has been battling her entire life to overcome a heart-wrenching loss. Homeless and desperate to forget the demons from her past, she finds solace in a quaint dive bar called the Skipper. When a friendly woman offers her a warm shower, a meal, and a job, something sparks in Syd and she begins to feel again.
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
 Leo (Queen of the Rants and Spoilers)
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4.5 GUNNAR stars!!!

“You are my future.” ~Gunnar.

“She’s mine to worry about and to care for"~Gunnar.

The Hero is freaking amazing, he's protective, he's caring, and an amazing father. When the heroine ran, he chased. He didn't believe what anyone said about the heroine he always believed in her, I loved how patient he was with her. 😍
What I also loved about this book was that the MCs are the right age, none of the barely 18s years old heroines paired with older heroes.
This hero was 44 years o
Jenny - TotallybookedBlog
Jul 21, 2015 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
Lillian ☁ Cloud 9 Books ☁
**** 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
4.5 stars

This is a fantastic story. It does deal with some heavy issues that can be hard to read (view spoiler) but the amazing characters make it worth it. The hero Gunnar was perfect and the heroine Syd was so sweet.

HEA (view spoiler)
Cheating/OW/OM (view spoiler)
Any push/pull (view spoiler)
Mindy Lou's Book Review
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was quite the emotional roller coaster. You don’t know exactly what Syd has been through, you just know it shook up her world and it seems the hits just keep on coming for her. Once you do learn what started her downward spiral, you just ache for her. What happened to her could happen to anyone.

This was a good story about survival, how to overcome tragedy and to begin anew. It’s also a good story about how we can’t survive alone, we need good people in our corner. Everyone at The Skipper pl
Gitte TotallyBookedBlog
Aug 26, 2015 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
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 01-signed
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
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing

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
Aug 16, 2015 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
Spoilers ahead, 3.5*

Ok so after completing Mia Malone's books I asked a fellow book lover for authors with similar writing style or characters and I was recommended this author. I tried one of her other books but I couldn't stand the h so I moved on to this one and here we are now

The tragic accidental death of her son causes Syd to go on a downward spiral that led to alcoholism and eventually homelessness as she left her judgemental parents and cheating husband behind. One day as she's ravaging
Freya Barker
Jun 18, 2015 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
Jun 19, 2015 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
I absolutely loved this book. Syd had been to hell and back and was at rock bottom until someone cared enough to help her. Cue Viv - what a truly amazing side character that really does need her own story.

What did I like (love):

* Two main characters that are older (so no ridiculous manufacured drama).
* A really good story line with a lot going on that never felt rushed.
* The patience Gunnar had, no matter what bombshell was dropped on him there was no knee jerk reactions, he LISTENED and ACCEP
Deserie williams
Aug 09, 2015 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 18, 2015 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
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
Jul 01, 2015 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 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.
Petra Gleason
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another great book and series from Freya Barker. Gunner was protective, compassionate, loving and everything you'd expect and want from one of her leading men and Syd (Bird) was one of the strongest women in a book I've read in quite a while. Her ability to keep going after such devastating loss was inspiring. ...more
3 Stars

Overall Opinion: This was just ok for me. I liked the H, and I felt for the h. I loved the kids in the story, and their interactions with the h and H. At times though I felt...bored, but other times I was really into it. It just wasn't consistent in keeping my attention, and with the abrupt ending -- I have to say it's just ok.

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Syd and Gunnar's story. Syd is found one morning going through a dumpster by a pub because she is homeless. The manager b
Aug 09, 2015 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 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
Lisa Cullinan
Feb 26, 2016 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,
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 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 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
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USA Today bestselling author Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Driven to make her books about 'real' people; she creates characters who are perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills in their lives.

Recipient of the 2019 Best Book We've Read All Year Award fo

Other books in the series

Portland ME (4 books)
  • Cruel Water (Portland, ME #2)
  • Through Fire (Portland ME #3)
  • Still Air (Portland ME #4)

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