Lady Vigilante (Feifei)'s Reviews > The Traveling Man

The Traveling Man by Jane Harvey-Berrick
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Sometimes there are those rare books I read that really can’t be swept under one rating and The Traveling Man falls under that case. I just want to say this part first before anything else: I loved and disliked this book in equal measures. The unique setting of the story, the friends-to-lovers romance, and the beautiful writing were all major positives. Yet on the flip side, there were several plot devices I flat-out didn’t like and put up a pretty big negative case against the positive. And with these kinds of books that make me feel so conflicted, I have tons to say, so I’ll be disregarding the rating this time and just let my thoughts all out before I start pulling my hair out.

With each new book I read from this author, it never fails to surprise me that there’ll be some unique aspect incorporated that makes her stories stand out among her own work and others. This book was no exception, and what made this one different is the carnival setting. I think the closest I’ve come to this premise would be a circus romance I read a while back but even so, the author makes it clear there’s a difference and that there’s more to a carnival than just petting animals and magic tricks. It’s very well researched – from the detailed descriptions of carnival ‘carnie’ life to behind the scenes setup – and it’s among all this chaotic fun where the stormy romance between Aimee Anderson and Kestrel Donohue began.

Their backgrounds are so different – Aimee’s your average girl living an ordinary life while Kes is a carnie, a wild card from the very start who has no roots and lives for thrills and excitement. And yet – even from the time they were children – there has always been a connection between them that no one could ever sever, a bond that just seemed right.

“He was everything I wasn’t, but somehow, together, there was a synergy, an alignment, something just made sense no matter how crazy it seemed to anyone else.”

The tricky part is that for every year for 6 years, Kes and Aimee would only see each other for two weeks as the carnival would tour around the country after that. As they were kids maturing into adolescence, the author perfectly captured the strife caused by their growing attraction to one another and the inevitable long distance. Thus, the two weeks they could see each other became their lifeline, from daily outings to bedroom readings to innocent kisses…they had to make the best memories to last them for a year before they could see each other again.

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The pivotal year that became the game changer was the year Aimee turned 16, when she and Kes both instinctively knew that all their years of playing around as kids were over. They were teens in love that left no room for anyone else.

“You’re my girl, Aimee. No one else.”

Just when they thought they could finally be together, a series of unfortunate events hit them hard – deception, loss, misunderstandings, etc…I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated and angry I was that such a wonderful couple had THIS many obstacles to face. This part was also my strike #1 as I thought some of the conflicts were put in for pure drama’s sake and the time gap right after all this put me in an even sour mood. If you didn’t already know, I hate time gaps.

Anyways, years pass and in a very realistic and believable manner, Aimee and Kes meet again. Both have matured considerably, both have moved on, yet both can’t deny that their chemistry and bond from before hasn’t changed. Even after finishing the book, I still can’t get over this second chance romance part because there’s just SO. MUCH. tension and conflict and passion put together that I’ve questioned more than once if their love is toxic. Because of their failed past relationship and all the baggage they’re dragging, these two have put up high walls. Some of their actions are cruel. Some just made me go WTF. And this quote from Aimee captures their struggles perfectly:

“...that was the truth: I’d never stopped loving him, but I was beginning to wish that I could.”

One part of this book that has always bothered me was the lack of information about Kes’s background. He’s such a tortured guy. He’s harsh and rough, but can also be gentle and loving. Throughout the book, only little hints have been dropped about his past and what could’ve made him so closed off and cynical, even towards Aimee.

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I wished the author could’ve given me more on that – maybe even a few chapters in his POV – because it made some (okay, a LOT) of his actions seem unnecessarily cruel. And yet strangely enough, every time I thought he stepped out of line, I would remember. I would flash back to the time where he and Aimee were sweet, carefree children, flash back to young teenagers in love. Same with Aimee. Every time I got annoyed with her doormat-ish behavior, I would remember how strongly and deeply she loved Kes and how holding onto that love was #1 for her, that no matter what, she believed their love was worth fighting for.

“Kes was moody and difficult, brilliant and beautiful. He scared me and he protected me. He could be incredibly hurtful and incredibly thoughtful. He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me.”

You could say that the author has effectively messed with my mind because these warring emotions are the source of my inner conflict and why I can’t decide on any one rating. Other technical issues I had like the very abrupt ending and how when they were children, Aimee and Kes didn’t really talk like kids were factors to consider too. It wouldn’t have been fair of me to let my frustration take over and slap a 3 star rating because I really was invested in this couple, in their romance. I loved them individually and I loved them together. On the flip side, I can’t hand out a 4.5 or 5 star rating because those plot devices truly frustrated and angered me.

But what’s weighing heavily on my mind right now is that I simply can’t forget about the book. There’s just this intensity to the story and I’m so tempted to do a re-read now, even knowing that reading all the conflict again will probably kill me. So much happens so fast I’m feeling overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. Taking all of this into account, does it sound like an epic romance worth reading or just a bundle of never-ending drama and unanswered questions best to skip? I have no fucking clue. And I still can’t get these characters out of my mind...

description

The Traveling Man is book 1 in a 2-book series and isn’t a standalone. Aimee and Kes’s tumultuous journey will be concluded in book 2 The Traveling Woman. You can bet your bottom dollar the moment the second book releases I will be reading it. I NEED my closure!!

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

January 9, 2015 – Shelved
January 9, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 10, 2015 – Started Reading
January 10, 2015 – Shelved as: arc
January 10, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary-duckie
January 10, 2015 –
23.0% "It's so sweet to see the hero and heroine interacting as kids ^_^"
January 11, 2015 –
100.0% "I don't even know what to think right now..."
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: bad-boys
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: die-from-cliffhanger
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: douchenugget
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: new-adult-express
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: panty-dropping-hot
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: plain-jane-lovin
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: read-to-review
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult-ness
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: love-hate-swingaroo
January 11, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 117 (117 new)


Jennifer Kyle Ohh Enjoy this one looks really good!! :D


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Jennifer wrote: "Ohh Enjoy this one looks really good!! :D"

Thanks friend! It's on the slow side but I like it so far :)


message 3: by .Lili. (new)

.Lili. Great honest review, Lady V! :)


message 4: by Eliza (new)

Eliza Wonderful review, Fei! So sorry you were not swept away by this one.xo


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Lili wrote: "Great honest review, Lady V! :)"

Thanks Lili! :)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Eliza wrote: "Wonderful review, Fei! So sorry you were not swept away by this one.xo"

Well, I was and wasn't LOL. Thanks Eliza! xx


aksana  -  4 - 8 - 15 - 16 - 23 - 42 - Great review Feifei. Sorry you feel so conflicted about this one. But you helped me with your review at least :D I dont think I will like it, no dual POV and then that time gap :D


✦❋Arianna✦❋ Great honest review, Feifei!:)


Anna Banana Oh thank god there will be a second book for them! Reading your review I thought their story ended leaving you wanting more and we wouldn't get it and that made me upset because that's just the worse feeling ever! This is such a great review, Feifei! I've already pre-ordered this book a while ago and while I understand your mixed feelings completely I can't deny that I'm even more curious to read this then ever. Sounds like the kind of book that will drive me crazy in both the best and worse way and I must be a masochist because I'm strangely looking forward to the pain and frustration haha


Sharon ∞❥ is an emotional book junkie ❥∞ wow Feifei...this sounds really good. i can only imagine all the drama but *fingers crossed* the next book will give u all the answers u need.

great review...im adding it! ;)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) aksana - 4 - 8 - 15 - 16 - 23 - 42 - wrote: "Great review Feifei. Sorry you feel so conflicted about this one. But you helped me with your review at least :D I dont think I will like it, no dual POV and then that time gap :D"

I'm glad it was helpful! Hopefully in book 2 I'll get dual POV haha :D


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Arianna wrote: "Great honest review, Feifei!:)"

Thanks Arianna! xo


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Anna Banana wrote: "Oh thank god there will be a second book for them! Reading your review I thought their story ended leaving you wanting more and we wouldn't get it and that made me upset because that's just the wor..."

LOL thanks Anna! Yes, it's exactly that kind of story. Enjoy when you get to it! :D


message 14: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Amazing review Feifei, makes me want to read the book. I'll probably wait until second book comes out before reading this one.


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Sharon ✽ is an emotional book junkie ✽ wrote: "wow Feifei...this sounds really good. i can only imagine all the drama but *fingers crossed* the next book will give u all the answers u need.

great review...im adding it! ;)"


Thanks Sharon! I have a feeling you'll love it. It was too much angst and drama for me I think ;)


Brandi Great, honest review, Feifei. Hopefully you will get the closure you are looking for in the next book! :))


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Lucy wrote: "Amazing review Feifei, makes me want to read the book. I'll probably wait until second book comes out before reading this one."

That's a good plan. Thanks Lucy! :)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Brandi wrote: "Great, honest review, Feifei. Hopefully you will get the closure you are looking for in the next book! :))"

Thanks Brandi! xoxo


message 19: by Aisling Zena (new) - added it

Aisling Zena Great review Lady :)


message 20: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Great honest review, as always girl! xx


Arabella ~♡AB♡~ Nicely put, I'm looking forward to seeing how I get on with it. I like angst but not too much.


*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time Awesome review friend, love your pics!


message 23: by NinaReader (new) - added it

NinaReader You're review is excellent Feifei!! I'm conflicted about adding it as you are conflicted about rating it. I'll make up my mind after your review of the 2nd book. =DDD


message 24: by Sim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sim Great review, definitely got me intrigued!


CasPerfitz~SLiTsReaD Another fantastic review friend!


Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤  Awesome review sweetie <333 I hope your next book is better!! *hugs*


message 27: by Didi (new) - added it

Didi Very well said, Feifei! :))


message 28: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Wonderfully said, feifei. I've read a few book that affected me like this one affected you. Like you, I also didn't rate those books. I feel for you,. I understand the emotional turmoil you're going through. xo


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Aisling Zena wrote: "Great review Lady :)"

Thanks Aisling! :)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Beverly wrote: "Great honest review, as always girl! xx"

Thanks Bev! :)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Arabella ~♡AB♡~ wrote: "Nicely put, I'm looking forward to seeing how I get on with it. I like angst but not too much."

I'm looking forward to your thoughts as well! There was a lot happening that's for sure. Thanks AB! :)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) J *I did it all for the nookie.The book nookie* wrote: "Awesome review friend, love your pics!"

Thanks friend! :D


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) NinaReader wrote: "You're review is excellent Feifei!! I'm conflicted about adding it as you are conflicted about rating it. I'll make up my mind after your review of the 2nd book. =DDD"

LOL thanks NinaReader! I'm still on edge here. Just dying for the next book! :D


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Sim wrote: "Great review, definitely got me intrigued!"

Thanks Sim! If you read it, hope you enjoy :)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) CasPerfitz~SLiTsReaD wrote: "Another fantastic review friend!"

Thanks friend! xoxo


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Pavlina loves Dex ❤❤ wrote: "Awesome review sweetie <333 I hope your next book is better!! *hugs*"

Thanks Pavlina! xx


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Didi wrote: "Very well said, Feifei! :))"

Thanks Didi! :)


Lady Vigilante (Feifei) Kristen (Peddler of Smut) wrote: "Wonderfully said, feifei. I've read a few book that affected me like this one affected you. Like you, I also didn't rate those books. I feel for you,. I understand the emotional turmoil you're goin..."

Thanks Kristen! It's exactly like that. So much anguish LOL! <3


Rachel Reads Ravenously This actually sounds incredibly intriguing to me. I think you explained your feelings on this book very well. Amazing review Feifei!


Penelope ✘ that awkward girl that doesn't go here ✘ Fantastic review, Feifei! <3 Pretty sure I'll be staying away from this one. Last time I read a book where you couldn't give it a rating, I ended up with ulcers in my pancreas, lol. But I guess I'll wait and see what you think of book 2 before I make my mind up. ;)


message 41: by SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ (last edited Jan 12, 2015 10:56PM) (new) - added it

SueBee★bring me an alpha!★ Wonderful review Feifei. Do you think after book 2 you might have clarity to rate this one?


message 42: by Mysza (new)

Mysza Fab review Feifei!


message 43: by Amanda (new)

Amanda wow. this book sounds intense, fei.

and is not even over yet.


Sandy ღCoffee Addict Booksღ Awesome review Fei!♥ I'm so glad you laid out the all points as to why you've not rated! Sounds like heavy emotions are surrounding this story! Hope book 2 works out for you:D


❃**✿【Yasmine】✿**❃ Great review, i don't think i'll be picking this up :/


Kirsten No kidding! So glad there will be more to the story for you to fill some of those gaps. This sounds extremely good! However, I feel like JHB, has been a big hit or miss for me. Will wait to see how the next one goes for you.... As always, fantastic, awesome review Fei! xo


Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️ Hmm. I think this book would frustrate me. Well said, Fei. ❤️


message 48: by Denise (last edited Jan 13, 2015 06:27AM) (new)

Denise Wonderful review, Feifei!! I love how you express all your feelings (even the conflicted ones) about a book. xx


Jennifer Kyle Fantastic review Feifei!! <3


message 50: by Baba (new)

Baba  Excellent review, Feifei! I'll skip this one. xxx


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