This story felt a little slow-moving and difficult to get into at first, but the more I read, the more engrossed I got. And as the story progressed, I literally had a hard time putting it down until I finished. And, what a finish!
Brit Mimi met and married an intense U.S. Marine named Joel Marcus while he’s in England. After a short honeymoon, he’s sent back to Afghanistan.
When Mimi gets the call that every military wife dreads and finds out Joel was taken by the enemy and killed during a mission, her life spirals out of control. She receives brief condolences from her brother-in-law in Texas, and takes it as a sign that she should visit her husband’s childhood home and learn more about his past. She really only knows that Joel became a marine after 9/11 and left his family’s ranch in Texas, leaving his mom and younger brother running the ranch all those years ago. Now it’s only his brother, Austin, and his son who live on the ranch and Joel and Austin had been estranged for years. In fact, Mimi had never even met Joel’s brother because he didn’t come to their wedding.
Mimi’s best friend offers to travel to Texas with her and even though they find Austin less than welcoming initially, Mimi begins to feel at home in Texas and she adores Austin’s son, Jake. But most of her questions about Joel’s childhood go unanswered and Mimi begins to suspect that her fabulous hero of a husband wasn’t all he seemed. And over time she finds herself growing closer and closer to Austin and Jake. Austin seems reluctant to talk about his brother, only explaining that he was never even invited to Mimi and Joel’s wedding.
As time goes by and her friend returns to England, Mimi chooses to remains in Texas. She and Austin develop a relationship, neither really wanting to move too quickly because, after all, Austin is her husband’s brother and there is his young son, Jake, to be concerned about. But though Austin reminds her of Joel in looks, Mimi slowly realizes that Austin might just be a much better man.
Just when their relationship is beginning to blossom, word arrives that Joel, though severely injured, is alive and will be well enough soon to return to Texas. Austin is torn about what to do and Mimi is horrified that her feelings for her husband have changed so drastically. I can’t really say too much about the rest of the book without revealing too much, other than to say the ending and what leads up to it is startling and unexpected.
This is definitely not your lighthearted romance and if you’re looking for a happily ever after, this is not the book for you. But it is a fascinating look at relationships, deals realistically with some of the ramifications of war and is suspenseful, to boot. I think this author will be one to watch.