Sometimes it’s when you least expect it that something wonderful happens, but for Andy Garrington the timing couldn’t have been worse. Being sent half way round the world to Afghanistan, Andy is prepared for a fight, but what he doesn’t expect is the most important battle of his life to carry on at home. For Samantha Litton, running into her childhood crush at the pub one evening seems like good fortune. But when he is called away to war and she is left behind, things don’t seem quite so clear and Sam has to determine who is telling her the truth and who is playing her for a fool, when all seems fair in love and war.
Sam, a schoolteacher, is singing karaoke in her local pub and soldier Andy instantly recognises her as the girl who stole his heart with a kiss years earlier. But before he can meet her properly, his mate Dean (who just happened to be her teenage crush) steps in, sweeps her off her feet and away from Andy.
However, after they deploy to Afghanistan, Dean loses interest in Sam. Andy sees his chance and takes it, deciding to write to Sam in his place. Soon a beautiful friendship is formed between them, and on an R&R visit, the relationship moves to a much more intimate level.
But upon Andy’s return to Afghanistan, a combination of lies, secrets and the acts of war itself threaten to tear all they’ve built apart.
The romance between Sam and Andy is really well-written. Despite all of the missing information and secrets that lead to their relationship in the first place, it is fairly clear (at least to me) that this is one meant to last. I loved reading the letters between Sam and Andy. It was as if you could see yourself in their position, anticipating and eagerly awaiting the news of their loved one.
I’ve read plenty of romances where the hero is in the military and is in some Special Forces/SAS type role. So it is nice to see Andy as a regular soldier (most in the armed forces are).
When it comes to the dark moments in the book, I could sense Sam’s confusion. She didn’t want to believe ill of Andy, but Dean had never really given her a reason not to believe him. It did irk me a little that Sam believed Dean over Andy, but when you have been forcefed misinformation, it surely can’t be easy to work out the truth.
There was a moment towards the end of the story that made me stop and catch my breath. It was something I had NOT seen coming. I’m not planning to spoil it for you, so don’t worry. However when you read it, you will know straight away which part I’m referring to.
This was a really sweet and emotional read, and an excellent debut from Wendy Lou Jones. Based on this, the move from medicine to writing was a wise one.
My rating: 4 out of 5 (originally 3.5, but rounded up on further reflection)
Release Date: 25 July 2013
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Harper Impulse, an imprint of Harper Collins UK in return for an honest review.