Series: Homefront #2
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Challenges: COYER Summer Scavenger Hunt |
Finishing the Series
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Blurb from goodreads:
The second book in the all new Homefront series from USA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott
A terrible loss…
Captain Sarah Anders lost her husband to the war and has nearly lost the career she loves. Sent to Fort Hood, she only wants to do her job and take care of the daughter she’s raising on her own. She never counted on running straight into a memory she’d tried to forget.
A love he never forgot...
Captain Sean Nichols never got over Sarah. He simply tried to forget her amidst the war and the chaos of combat. But when she’s assigned to investigate his unit, he comes face to face with the woman no war or any amount of could make him forget.
I had a hard time starting this review. I liked the book, didn't love it, but enjoyed it. Hey, it's a Jessica Scott book! How bad could it be?
"After the War" isn't one of my faves but it's a good book. Like all of Scott's book, it's more than a love story; it tackles some difficult issues. Do the choices we make when we're young define us for the rest of our lives? Can we change our mind and change course? What are we willing to sacrifice for love? for honor? commitment? how do we balance the people, events, and ideals that matter to us? Can we have it all or is there a price to be paid? And what if you're not the one paying it?
That's a lot for one story and there's a romance mixed in with all of that. In this case, it's a second chance romance. Sean and Sarah were together years ago when they were teens but he wanted her to give up the military and she wasn't willing. Now, she's a widow and a mother as well as career military; he's career military, never married.
I didn't always agree with the choices that Sarah made concerning her daughter but then I've never been in her position. I have been the one dealing with the child whose parent travels for weeks at a time or is at school (more on that below) every minute that the school is open or gets dragged out of bed when mom or dad gets called in at the last minute (I work in early childhood education with children ages one to six years old). Sometimes, there's no good answer or good choice, you just make the best decision you can and hope for the best. And really, doesn't that apply to most of life?
Sarah and Sean, though still attracted to each other, have years of personal and professional baggage to deal with. They're decent people, making the best of their lives, and daring to take another chance on love and on each other. Their personal relationship moves slowly as they get reacquainted and discover who they are versus who they were years ago.
But that girl wasn't the one he was falling for this time around. No, it was the woman standing in front of him, determined to be strong and independent and in charge of her own fate.
And it was that strength, that woman that made him want to reach for her once more.
Professionally, their work puts them at odds. And I really, really, REALLY disliked Sarah's boss. Wow, not a nice person. I kind of wanted to push her down a flight of stairs. :P She took an immediate dislike to Sarah, didn't give her a chance, was completely unreasonable, and that was on a good day.
Sarah ran her hands over her face and sucked in a deep breath. She did not pull away. "I've got to go because if I don't finish this goddamned investigation by tomorrow, I'm sure Wilson will start building my packet and get me a negative evaluation."
After a while he spoke. "She's just unhappy because she found her cat on match.com looking for a new home."
Scott's humor is one of her strengths for me. It's never forced, it's real, and it adds to the story. She uses it to help soften all the drama and angst she puts her characters, and us, through. "After the War" stirred up all sorts of feelings for me and made me think. That's typical of Scott's books; they grab your heart and your brain, and completely engage you. You simply cannot read on autopilot.
One nitpick that most readers won't notice or care about but as an early childhood professional, it really annoyed me, heck, it pissed me off. I take my pride in my work and I get cranky when people don't respect it.
"How was school today?" Anna called daycare school for some reason, and Sarah didn't correct her.
Correct her? Correct her?! There's nothing to correct. Of course it's school! Unless it's a crap daycare, and lord knows there are plenty of those, a daycare IS a school. Children learn by leaps and bounds at that age and play is their curriculum. Daycare providers/educarers/ teachers, whatever term you choose to use, plan activities and provide play opportunities that are well thought out and enriching. And if you think I'm ranting, be glad you didn't see the first view versions. This is me being calm.
So, that factual error aside, "After the War" is another heavy hitting story that had me crying, ranting, smiling, and laughing. I was all over the place emotionally but I was rooting for everything to work out - for Sean to save his men and especially his friend, for Sarah to get her career back on track while still being a good mother, and for Sean and Sarah to find their way back to each other. A bonus was the appearance of characters from other books, such as Reza and even Claire and Evan, who were my introduction to Scott's books. Scott's characters are compelling and love them or hate them, you feel something, you have a reaction. They're flawed, they're decent, they're real. Sean and Sarah are no exception.