Series: Coming Home #3
Format: Kindle Galley
Source: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository* | ARe*
Blurb from goodreads:
He's in for the fight of his life . . .
Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family—so he deployed again. And again. And again . . . until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs . . . if she'll have him
. . . to win back his only love.
Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried—and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?
Bea and CarolKat's Thoughts:
Bea: I. LOVED. IT. Sooooooooooo good. Jessica Scott just may be the best romance author out there. Her books rip out my guts but they're worth every bit of pain and every tear shed while reading. This story has been brewing since book one and in the short stories. Jessica said it was difficult for her to write and I believe it. She tackled some challenging material and though I cried buckets, it was because I cared and I ached, not because she was pulling my heart strings or manipulating my emotions. If you can't feel the pain, the terror, and the hope, you may be dead.
Trent and Laura have been married for about 10 years and much of that time he's been deployed overseas to Iran. The more time he spends at war, the less he feels he deserves to come home to his wife and family, and when he is home he doesn't know how to be back home, away from the war. He has trouble coping with daily life outside of the war and doesn't know how to be a husband or a father. The result is that he pulls away, rarely comes home, and continues deploying. Finally, his wife has had enough and leaves him.
And that's when things get really interesting. Scott does an amazing job of showing us the stress, the disconnect, and the difficulty adjusting to life back at home for soldiers returning to the US. It's part of the story, there's no info dump, and even when Trent couldn't feel, I did. I had to take several reading breaks to stop crying and lessen the intensity. At first, despite never having been a soldier, I identified more with Trent than Laura but gradually I came to understand her side. I could appreciate her reluctance to trust Trent again and her protectiveness of their children. There are no villains responsible for the problems in their marriage; both of them contributed. There are problems with Trent's career, which have also been building through the previous stories. The resolution to that was a little too pat but overall, I enjoyed it. The authenticity that Scott brings to her books about the military and military life is priceless. She knows what she's talking about and knows how to weave it into a story.
The journey Trent and Laura take as they try to rebuild their marriage is slow, painful, sometimes funny, and achingly poignant. There's not a magic cure for their marital problems or for Trent's adjustment problems but slowly they make progress, improve their communication skills, and rediscover their love for each other. It's a bumpy path but they keep trying and their friends, stars of previous are there to help them along. Carponti and Shane and their wives are not just dropped into the story but add to it and we get updates about them but they never take over the story.
I cheered, I cried, I cursed Scott a time or two, but it was all worth it in the end. If you like contemporary romance, then you have to read "Back to You". It's a perfect blend of romance, pathos, humor, and characterization.
"Back to You" is a story of pain, deception, betrayal, denial, forgiveness, faith, love and redemption as only military families can feel it. In the Introduction Ms. Scott stated this was the hardest book she has ever written. I understand why. I felt the emotion in every word she wrote.
Coming home from war facing divorce and Court-Martial Captain Trent Davila has a lot of demons chasing him. His wife Laura had served him with divorce papers while he was in Iraq. It was his fault he had totally shut her out from his life while he was deployed partially because of the horror of war and partially because he was ordered not to discuss the charges being leveled against him. To make matters worse he volunteered for training assignments away from home in the States to avoid his family, because he felt he didn’t belong anymore.
Trent’s lawyer advised him to make nice with his wife and show a united front to the officers on the board, something he didn’t know if Laura would go for. He loved his wife and family, but he knew he had hurt her with his silence and didn’t know if he could ever make it right; or if he had the right to try, he wouldn’t ask, he couldn’t.
He had been ordered to a Psychiatric Evaluation to establish a clean bill of health prior to the hearing, routine since he had spent so much time abroad. First he had to face his wife and see if there was any hope of repairing the damage to his marriage, he didn’t have high hopes.
At the same time Laura has the same doubts even as Trent enters her office for the first time since he went off to the training assignment. They still love each other but don’t know how to overcome the obstacles in front of them.
The psychiatrist assigned to him turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Captain Emily Lindberg turns out to be compassionate and somewhat sneaky but not in a bad way. I think we may see more of her in future books.
Trent begins to be more of a father and husband and learns a lot about his wife and himself in the process.
With two furry little hamsters helping things along, and best friends Shane and Jen getting married in a few weeks, things move quickly. I couldn’t put this book down and doubt if any of you will be able to either.
I felt every emotion in this book. I laughed, cried, had to fan myself to cool off from the heat at points.
5 Stars and Kudos to Jessica Scott!