Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to You (Coming Home, #3) by Jessica Scott

Title: Back to You (A Coming Home Novel)
Series: A Coming Home Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Military Romance
Format: Paperback; 304 pages
Publisher: Forever (July 29, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1455553743
ISBN-13: 978-1455553747
Author's website
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for an honest review.

War is not a nine to five job that you can conveniently walk away from at the end of the day. It stays with you. It lingers and follows you. It haunts you even after you've left the battlefield. For a soldier the battle can be never ending playing itself over and over again within their minds long after the war has ended.

Perhaps the only thing harder than being a soldier is being the woman behind the man or the family left behind. Never knowing if that parting kiss and hug will be your last. If those parting words will be the last you'll ever hear. If the only promise that matters--I'll come back--will be unintentionally broken.

The military can make a man, but it can also break one. Just because your loved returns doesn't necessarily guarantee the man who left will be the same one who is returned to you. Sometimes it's not just the ghosts of fallen comrades that haunt them, but the guilt of what they could of, should of, but didn't do. Hindsight is twenty twenty, but the clarity of it does little good after the fact.

For some soldiers facing the reality of real life becomes scarier than the war they've left. Being told what to do, how to act, what to eat is simpler than having to make choices, dealing with the guilt, and facing the ones you've let down or at least believe you have. Sometimes revealing how broken you've truly become is harder than letting them live with the memory of the man you once were. The military provides an easy escape to these individuals as reenlisting and applying for an additional tour of duty is rarely questioned or denied. Such is the case of Captain Trent Davila. For the past year he's been avoiding dealing with reality and facing his wife and family. He's being investigated for a number of allegations he was falsely accused of and is dealing with the guilt of not seeing what was going on under his very nose and under his own command and the guilt of surviving when other more worthy men did not.

What finally snaps Trent out of his self inflicted isolation is his wife sending him his walking papers. Requesting he grant her a divorce so she can get on with her own life as he doesn't appear to wish to share his with her any longer. A life that has been filled with loneliness since he left and never came back. He'll finally realize what's really important and go back home to fight for his marriage, but will it be a case of too little, too late? He's a seasoned veteran of the battlefield but will that experience help him to win back her heart?

I absolutely adored this book. I always feel a little sad when I hear of a marriage that ends in divorce because you know at some point the two individuals involved cared deeply for one another. Many things can go wrong in a marriage, but it takes two to make a marriage work and when one of the two individuals checks out emotionally or physically on the other it can quickly come to a screeching halt. This story took what seemed irreparable and fixed it. Plus, can I admit, I've always had a little soft spot for stories that remind me of an Officer and a Gentleman? While many would argue, and be justifiably right in saying that this is nothing like that particular movie, the book left me with the same feelings I had at the end of the movie. I was touched, happy and glad the good guy came out ahead.

Trent is a good guy who lost himself overseas in a battle that hasn't ended. He'd given everything to the military and in return he's up for a possible court martial because the system appears to be failing him. He realizes he's made some bad decisions and choices along the way and isn't afraid to own up to them, but perhaps the most profound and hardest thing he's had to do is admit he needs help. He can't fix himself on his own and he needs to get himself together and his priorities straight before he can ever hope to win back his wife.

Laura Davila is a strong woman whose had to raise her family single handedly. She's waited patiently for her husband to reclaim them, but as time has passed, it seems more and more unlikely. He's isolated himself from her and his children and she feels like she's a wife whose husband has been declared MIA and is waiting for him to be declared dead. While she still holds feelings for the man, her heart has been hardened by his betrayal, not with another woman, but by his choosing his career over them. 

What I loved about this story is that Ms. Scott doesn't skirt around the difficult issues that need to be addressed. She faces them head on and confronts them in her story and slowly, one by one, expertly eliminates them. She creates a truly touching, moving, and riveting tale that makes you believe that real life fairy tales can come true. I couldn't help but give this story a well deserved 5 out of 5 roses. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. A book I highly recommend.

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