Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review of Here With Me by Heidi McLaughlin

Synopsis: Ryley Clarke has grown up with the military in her blood, with both parents serving their country. Ryley knows the risks of being married to the military. But when the unthinkable happens, and her future husband is killed in action, Ryley can barely survive... until Evan's twin brother, Nate, helps her pick up the pieces.

After serving on a special mission with the military for six years, Evan Archer returns home to find the unthinkable - the love of his life, Ryley Clarke - engaged to his brother, Nate. With Nate on deployment, Evan needs to figure out what happened in his absence, and more importantly, how to win Ryley back from the man he once considered his best friend, but now thinks of as his rival.
4 Stars!
Review: Ryley and Evan's story will definitely pull at your heartstrings. Evan was sent on a deployment six years ago, but his family received word shortly after his deployment, that he had been killed in action. They mourned, they grieved, and they moved on. Now, however, Evan and his team are back home, confused as to why their families are not happier to see them. In several cases, their families actually refuse to believe that it is them.
Through glimpses of the present, as well as the two of them talking about their past, you begin to see how much of a connection Ryley and Evan had. In his absence and supposed death, however, she had moved on with his brother, Nate. Nate is now away on an assignment and does not seem to know about his brother's return from the dead. As Nate is mostly absent from this book, I definitely found myself really pulling for Ryley and Evan. They share stories of how they met, fell in love, moved in together, and became pregnant. Evan has mysteriously been kept in the loop regarding Ryley and EJ, their son's, life, through pictures and letters. So, he is having a difficult time adjusting to his family not being there for him when he returns.
Ryley, on the other hand, has a lot of guilt. She still loves Evan - never really stopped - but she has moved on and promised herself to Nate. You can definitely feel how conflicted she is, because she wants to be a woman of her word, but she has now given her word to two different men. Only one has her heart, though, and that is what she has to decide on. There is no way that someone will not come out of this hurt, though. This book definitely ends on a cliffhanger, both with the love triangle, as well as what has really happened for the past six years, within the Navy SEALS.
The part that bugged me about this book was the therapist. As a therapist, I was not impressed with the sessions that she did. It is never really a therapist's job to tell someone what to do. It's more about helping them through situations and hopefully, empowering them to make healthier decisions for themselves. Yet, the therapist clearly defines for both Ryley and Evan that she is listening to each of their stories in the hopes of telling them what direction to take. It was hard for me, personally, not to get caught up with that factor within the story, so it kind of took away from some of the emotional impact, at times. Overall, though, this author definitely writes emotional moments very well, as you really do feel what the characters are experiencing - the confusion, the heartache, the hope that is trying to break through after years of desolation and loneliness. I can't wait to see what happens between Ryley, Nate and Evan.

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