Marine Jack Reynolds and school teacher Hope Caldwell first meet in Iraq during a horrific experience trying to escape jihadists. When they are trapped and wounded they refuse to let the other die and with a bond forged between them, closer than even their clasped hands, their lives are changed as if fate stepped in.
Jack Reynolds never stopped thinking of the woman who saved his life. With Christmas approaching, Jack goes home while trying to decide what future he wants….Melissa his girlfriend who pushes for marriage and living in Florida or becoming a post master like his uncle and living in Vermont. When he gets home he is thrown into the holiday celebrations and is surprised to see Hope there.
Hope could never give up on her Marine. She never learned his name but their meeting came to hold such a meaning for her that she can’t form commitments or real attachments with anyone else. Taking a temporary teaching job in Vermont, she is more than surprised to find her Marine there. She is also surprised to hear he is engaged.
When a lost bag of last year’s Christmas cards are in need of delivery, Jack and Hope decide to do it together. While spending time with each other, their bond is deepening leaving each wondering what will happen to them. They are each other’s best friend and love is strong between them, but will outside influences drive them apart? Will fate step in again and save these two soul mates?
I truly was captivated by this story from the beginning. From Iraq to Vermont the characters are strong, interesting and hold depth of emotion. Not only are the main characters this way, but so are the various secondary ones such as Margaret Carroll and T.J. Dancer. This small community that the author created was hit hard by the loss of their family and friends to the military and you can truly feel the emotions from these characters as if their pain where real. Very impressive writing skills!
There were two issues I connected with in this story. One of them had to do with the military. In the story Jack takes on the project of renovating the local Veterans Hall. I can’t speak to the halls around the country, but the ones I see locally are either closing or not used often. Jack not only decides to fix up the hall for job fairs and gatherings, but he is able to lift the moral and build up the loyalty and community pride in the veterans and their sacrifices. I wish this could happen more often in real life and not just at times of fear.
The second issue is another close to my heart. In delivering the cards, Hope is asked to read a letter to a young girl written by her father. The letter was written in cursive and the girl, my take was late teens or early 20’s, could not read it. The school systems are teaching our kids to print and not use cursive. This is a disability that I just cannot fathom its justification. When our children cannot read historical documents written in cursive or sign their legal names how can we say we did right by them? Hope’s character has workshops she conducts to teach this skill and encourages all to attend. This is a shameful situation our children will be the bearers of. I was happy to see the author use this in his story to draw attention to this deplorable lack of education we are fostering.
This is the first introduction I had with this author, Bryan Mooney, and I was very taken with his style. I look forward to more of his books and in fact I am eyeing his previous book, Love Letters.
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1XLjjLS