Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Random House
My Copy: NetGalley
Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again—until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.
Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels—for the first time in a long time—like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty—it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected—her deepest desire
Being in the military is all Shane knows. It’s all he has left after his sham of a marriage ends. His men are the only family he has and the only people he cares about. Except for a spunky nurse he meets the night before he deploys. The memory of their kiss the light at the end of his tunnel. When a bomb sends him back home he awakens to find himself immobile. Struggling to come to grips with his limitations and the various setbacks that have occurred to him he is volatile, moody and sometimes violent. The only thing keeping what little sanity he has left is his daily meetings with his nurse Jen.
Scarred herself from a mastectomy, Jen knows how Shane is feeling, but can’t bring herself to tell the one man who has treated her like a woman, that they share that in common. Still reeling from her cancer she just isn’t ready to bare her soul no matter how he makes her feel. Jen is slowly falling for the wounded soldier. Against all odds, these two will have to lean on each other in order to heal.
I feel almost bad for saying I didn’t really connect with this one. Maybe it’s because it was a military romance and my sense of patriotism was affected. Maybe it’s because I recently went to the funeral of a family friend’s brother who was killed by a roadside bomb and saw the devastation of a family affected by war firsthand. I don’t know. Every fiber of my being wanted to love this book. When it comes right down to it though, I just didn’t as much as I wanted to. I do not think it had anything to do with the book or the writing itself, I think it was me and it was just the wrong place, wrong time.
As individuals I really liked Jen and Shane. They were both complex characters that did quite a bit of growing throughout the course of the book. Together though, I never felt the heat. There wasn’t enough passion between the two for me to buy into them as a couple. For much of the book they each had flitting thoughts of the “Florence Nightingale effect” and to be honest I did as well. I think I just find it a bit weird when a nurse and her patient become involved. Not to say that it can’t ever happen, I’m sure it’s the exact opposite. Still I think it’s odd.
I found the story line lagged a lot. Especially when Shane launched into thoughts on the military that used terms I had never heard of. Since I’ve never had first hand knowledge of things over in the desert of Baghdad, the terms the author used could be a bit hard to follow. There were a few times I thought about calling my cousin (also named Shane lol) to help me decode some of the wording.
I enjoyed Shane’s range of emotion while coming to term with his new limitations. It must have been incredibly hard for this strappingly strong soldier to be sidelined while most of his men continued to fight. He went through a lot and I could understand his frustration. I liked how he showed his emotions seemingly only with Jen.
Poor Jen, I just couldn’t understand her. I wanted her to open up to Shane the entire book. She was a classic case of do what I say and not what I do. She kept telling him to open up. To talk about things. To stop blaming himself for getting sidelined and having to leave his men. Yet she kept everything bottled up. Never wanting to tell him of having a mastectomy and when he finally finds out, never wanting to allow him to see the scar. Allowing him to see and feel the scar was a barrier between them that it seemed Shane would never breach.
Where this author gets it right is in the supporting characters. I loved every one of them! Carponti was my absolute FAVORITE. His outlook on life was incredible and even though he was crazy and snarky, I still felt for him. I mean, how often do you meet a guy who has had his arm blown off and yet has a bright outlook on life? He was the glue that initially held Shane together. I also really liked the authors ability to shed light onto the sensitive subject of how the country deals with its wounded veterans after they return home. So often these courageous soldiers are pushed to the side and forgotten. As a country we need to embrace these people and give back…show them how much they truly do mean to us. No matter which side of the politics you are on, supporting our soldiers should never be a dividing line.
Because of You is left completely open ended with a story line for some supporting characters still up in the air. I know Jessica has some more works coming out early next year and so I hope some of these get taken care of. While this one didn’t exactly float my boat I do think it was well written. Sometimes what I want to like…and what I crave to read are two separate things that don’t like to play nice nice in my brain. I will pick up the next book, I believe in Jessica Scott’s work!
I give Because Of You by Jessica Scott 3.50 stars!