Published by Kate McCarthy on November 20th 2013
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Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn't stop him wanting the one thing he can't have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She's the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself. At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won't let go. Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can't live without her. But sometimes love isn't enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can't be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what's left. This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself. This book is recommended for 18+ due to adult language and themes. Please note: K McCarthy is an Australian author and Australian spelling, language and slang has been used in this book.
I’m probably one of the very few who found this formulaic and annoying, particularly when irrational behaviour like screwing other people when secretly pining for each other is exhibited pretty early on in the book. If that’s a ploy to engage reader-empathy for new adult conflict (is this what they call it these days?), I’m afraid that didn’t really work for me, since that simply went too far against my own simple-minded definitions of loyalty, devotion and protectiveness.
The various obstacles Fin and Ryan faced weren’t insurmountable but the characters’ reactions weren’t proportionate to them; they were instead writ large, with the exaggeration of high-school drama for the purpose of delaying an ending which I felt could have come 50 pages earlier.
The beloved trope of brother’s best-friend has been done to death, but the eternal optimist in me often hopes for a spark of difference, or at least a nuanced take on this, which, I have to say, unfortunately, wasn’t found in this book.