When a writer friend asked if I’d like to advance-review a novel about a wounded Navy SEAL, how could I say no? It has so many of the same themes that True Surrender does (we write what we love to read, after all): a wounded military man and a strong-willed, no-nonsense heroine. A healer theme. Military intrigue (the opening scene when the hero’s mission goes bad hooked me right away) and the friction in personal relationships.
This novel did not disappoint!
The voices and military “feel” was authentic, the commitment and camaraderie right-on. (As an ex-Army paramedic and helicopter pilot, the only thing that was jarring was the fact that the hero could fly a chopper just because he’d had fixed-wing lessons. Flying a helo is HARD, folks; you can’t do it after just a few casual lessons, especially a military chopper!)
Writing a military character (especially a man) in a relationship or romance novel is hard to do. I know from experience how hard it is to walk the fine line of SHOWING rather than TELLING! (I spent a lot of time in thoughtful debate about True Surrender hero Aaron Bricewick’s words and actions.) These characters hold their emotions very close to themselves and aren’t often verbose (so you don’t have a lot of dialogue); you can show them using exercise or alcohol to “exorcise the demons” only so much before there’s not enough to hold the reader’s interest.
By and large, the author achieved this delicate balance. There were a few times when I felt she was tipping into the territory of “telling” me too much of what was in the hero’s head, and there was a six-week period that flashed by without showing his struggle with his memory that was a bit abrupt. But I thoroughly enjoyed the characters (and their backstories), the story arc, the healer elements, and the climax when we gets his memory back (that’s not a spoiler, right? You knew it was a happily-ever-after ending!).
If you like a little spice in your novels, this one won’t disappoint. But in my opinion, the story was plenty compelling on its own and didn’t need as much sex as we got. By and large, a great read. Rated at 4.5!