Beneath Autumn Leaves

Fiction - Womens
266 Pages
Reviewed on 05/12/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Lizbeth J was born in Los Angeles, California, with a rich Mexican heritage she’s proud of. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado, with two cherished companions—her cats Leia and Luna. When she's not writing, Lizbeth enjoys participating in thrilling Dungeons & Dragons sessions with her friends, getting lost in the pages of her beloved romance novels, capturing the beauty of nature through her photography, or relishing the genuine Mexican dishes served at small establishments.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite

Beneath Autumn Leaves, by Lizbeth J, opens with Autumn Evans returning to the town she grew up in after a seven-year absence. But she is keeping dark secrets from her family and friends. The author has created a character who is struggling with her self-image, her relationship with her mother, and her memories of years of spousal abuse. Autumn’s abuser, Mason, re-enters her life. A chance encounter draws Emmett Miller into her world and entices her to stay in the town she fled from. But Emmett has a past too, and forgiveness isn’t always easy. Then, just when Autumn begins to heal and she and Emmett see real hope for their future, Mason manages to turn their lives upside down again. Can they ever find peace?

Lizbeth J doesn’t just tell a gripping story. She doesn’t just create believable characters. She takes us into Autumn’s mind and heart. We experience the fear, the sense of betrayal, the hurt of a daughter desperate for her mother’s approval, and the yearning for the sense of security that comes with being truly loved. Reading Beneath Autumn Leaves forces you to, for a while, be Autumn Evans. Lizbeth J takes us into the world of the deranged abuser, showing us precisely how his manipulation confuses his victim and destroys her sense of self-worth. She shows us how the victim becomes isolated and full of shame. If you have never experienced spousal abuse or been close to someone who has, this story might help you understand its profound effect. It might offer a glimpse into the workings of the minds of some abusers. Yet this is done with tact and discretion, in a manner that does not distract from the entertainment value of the story. This is a story with depth. It’s a story that evokes a powerful emotive response. But it’s also a story full of hope and reassurance of the healing power of love and genuine friendship. It’s a fantastic read for anyone who loves great women’s fiction, psychological thrillers, and stories that entertain us while shining a light in the darkest corners of our world.

Pikasho Deka

Beneath Autumn Leaves is a romance thriller/drama novel by Lizbeth J. After suffering emotional and physical abuse for seven years in a toxic relationship, Autumn Evans returns to her childhood home in the small town of Maplewood, Colorado, to attend her sister Ortus' wedding. Autumn tries her best to mingle with her friends and family. However, she continues to struggle with her past trauma. Fate intervenes, and she meets Emmett Miller, a veterinarian who brings newfound hope to her life and slowly draws Autumn out of her shell. But the past comes back with a vengeance in the form of Mason, who wants her at all costs. While Autumn and Emmett navigate their past baggage, they fall deeply in love. But will their love be able to overcome the nefarious plans of a psychopath?

Author Lizbeth J splashes romance, drama, and suspense into this absorbing tale about finding love and inner strength while navigating the treacherous terrain of trauma. Beneath Autumn Leaves shows how cycles of abuse can manifest malignant toxicity in relationships through people who, at some point, were victims themselves. The author takes a nuanced approach to the sensitive topic of domestic abuse, using the narrative to showcase how hard it is for victims to disclose the truth, even to their friends and family. Autumn and Emmett play off each other brilliantly, and their palpable chemistry makes it easy to root for them. I also liked Autumn's circle of friends, especially the twins and their constant back-and-forth. All in all, Beneath Autumn Leaves is a captivating story that romance lovers are bound to love.

Asher Syed

In Beneath Autumn Leaves by Lizbeth J., Autumn's return to her hometown for her sister's wedding triggers family tension and dredges up the past when she discovers her ex, Mason, is there too. As she wades through past trauma and balances it against the present, she forms a bond with Emmett after saving his injured dog. Autumn chooses to stay, rebuilding her life with support from loved ones. Autumn's relationship with Emmett grows, but so does the list of challenges she faces, from health issues to emotional turmoil to some news that surprises everyone. Just as a new chapter of life and family begins, a chance encounter triggers a horrific confrontation and terrifying ordeal, testing her resilience once more in opposition to the lingering impact of a past that continues to haunt her.

Lizbeth J. does a wonderful job of breathing life into Autumn and the bucolic Maplewood in Beneath Autumn Leaves. Autumn is a multi-dimensional character, and she is given so much relatable baggage, even if pieces of it will touch readers in different ways. Her internal conflict, emotional struggles, reluctance to face her past, the tension with her family—her mother, in particular—and the absolute complexity of her feelings illustrate her depth and solidify an already exceptional arc. Maplewood is so thoroughly immersive in how it and its surrounding areas are described that it almost becomes a character itself, and the landscape is used metaphorically in some cases. There is a perfectly written forest pursuit scene, dripping with fear, and that journey through the forest becomes a symbolic representation of external factors hammering at internal strife, using the forest to convey abstract concepts through tangible elements. This is a great, thought-provoking, and touching story, and I look forward to seeing what Lizbeth J. gives us next.