In many ways this book took my breath away. It wouldn’t let me get comfortable or, to be fair, I should say that it wouldn’t let me get comfortable for long. I read it as a complete novel, but I can imagine-based on where the breaks occur- that this would have left me one impatient puppy if I had to read it as a serial. But that’s just it. It read like a serial if one was to read a serial all at once. For those who have read serials, you know to what I refer. There is that rise to the first conflict where it leaves the reader staring at the last page with his/her mouth open and then the next segment brings things down before building up for something new to grab attention and onward from there. This story was six parts with a bonus read attached and it rung me out.
Word of warning, do not grab this if you’re looking for something easy on the emotions or want something to help you unwind. It doesn’t let up. The excitement is all in the tension of this romance. Was there a lot of angst? Absolutely. Was it undue angst? Not sure. The jury’s still out on that.
I can be a quiet reader, but for some books I can also be pretty interactive. This one had me muttering, groaning, tapping and sighing over stuff. The hero was like on self-destruct much of the time though to be fair some of it was a result of not having his head on straight after losing his best friend in combat and then spending a year deployed in a combat zone himself. The heroine had to pick up the pieces so often she should have earned a badge of honor. I honestly couldn’t blame her when she lost it at times, held back and eventually just didn’t know if there was anything left she could give.
So what was it all about? Its the long, heartrending journey to love between the boy and girl next door who grow up to be the brother’s little sister and the brother’s best friend who finally get their chance at love. At the same time, it’s more too because it is about characters who have flaws and need to grow- particularly the hero.
Elsie loves Henry and has loved him since she clapped eyes on him when her brother brought him home. She kept this to herself because Henry made it clear that he only saw her as best friend’s kid sister and as his friend. But at the beginning of this story, a year after Jason’s death, things change. They finally get their chance except Henry is keeping a secret about his orders that causes things to be postponed and then later things happen that cause seemingly irreparable damage to their chance at love. The last half is their attempt to put their shattered romance back together. It ends in a good place. In a way, I wish I had left it at that, but I read that bonus which acted like a teaser for me by showing what was to come after the end and ominous dark clouds are forming again.
I’ve been deliberately vague in my summary on purpose because I don’t want to give away the emotional touch points and twists in the plot. This is one of those books that I can say that I’m glad I read, but I wouldn’t say the experience was enjoyable. It’s a story for which one needs to be prepared because it makes one introspective and melancholy when things hit their rock bottom lowest.
At the same time, there are some real tender and sweet moments along with quite a bit of the sexy times. Henry and Elsie might have trouble figuring out how to be together, but the physical attraction and need to just touch was never the problem. I enjoyed when they went home and spent time with their families which gave even more depth to the story so it’s not just a romance in isolation. These two tend to be very caught up in each other. It’s all told first person from Elsie’s perspective, but Henry is just as much in the forefront as she is when they share a scene.
Wrapping up, it was a rather emotional read that was also hotter than Hades. It’s a military romance story, but also the story of what it’s like for family when their military personnel don’t come home and also when they come home different. I recommend this for those who can appreciate a not so easy contemporary romance where the characters are flawed and the passion is off the hook.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
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