I was attracted to the book From Ashes to Honor by Loree Lough for several reasons.
First, I love main characters who are soldiers and/or EMS-type personnel, and the idea of following “first responders” of the 9/11 crises intrigued me.
Second, since I often create and write the stories of soldiers with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), I’m logically attracted to characters in that situation, as was the case in this novel. (Hero Austin was on scene during 9/11 and Heroine Mercy counseled 9/11 survivors; both carry emotional scars from it.)
The premise also attracted me – two people who already share something in their past reconnecting after a number of years. (After all, both True Surrender and Last Chance Rescue have variations of this theme.)
The storyline was good, but not as compelling as I had expected. I found myself wishing for less back-and-forth banter dialogue, keeping the story tighter and moving a bit faster. I would have liked more detailed descriptions of the dramatic things (like a mugging/beating and subsequent recovery) and how that affected the characters. I guess you could say I wanted drama, but what I got was introspection.
The handling of the Christian theme was good, in my opinion. Not overdone, not preachy…it felt like real-world people. The secondary characters were also well done, giving the right amount of interaction to the main characters while not becoming too stereotypical.
I have mixed feelings about the ending. In one way, it was unexpected so it’s memorable. (I don’t care for the “typical” romance formulas; I like more “meat” in my books, but I also like a happy ending when I’m reading for escape.) I can’t help feeling that it was rushed after all the agonizing on the part of the characters throughout the book. It felt like the author needed to wrap up the book quickly, or wanted to get you to buy the next in the series.
Like other reviewers, I was surprised how many typos and grammatical errors I encountered. Simple things like placing an “Austin said” at the end of a quote would have minimized confusion about who was speaking (which happened with regularity), which inevitably interrupted the flow of the story.
Primarily because of the disappointing ending and poor grammar, I’d have to bump this book to a rating of 3.5. But it has plenty to interest those who enjoy main characters with traumatic backgrounds – particularly medical personnel.