Monday, April 13, 2015

#Review: Homefront by Jessica Scott - 4 Wine Glasses

24737802Title: Homefront
Series:  Homefront #1
Author: Jessica Scott 
Format:  eBook, 256 pages
Published: April 7, 2015 by Jessica Scott
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 
Source: Author
Reviewer: Kimberly
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses

He's always loved her...

First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.

She's never stopped loving him...

Melanie never stopped worrying about Gale each time he headed off to war. But he's never been there when she needed him and she's had fifteen years to steel her heart against him.

But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.

Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?

Kimberly’s Thoughts:
The course of young love never did run smooth, add in military deployments, a newborn baby, and well,   the road becomes very rough.  Melanie and Gale married young and when Melanie becomes pregnant, Gale throws himself even more into his job trying to move up the military ranks to earn more money.  When Gale is deployed it leaves Melanie home alone to deal with all the stresses that come with a newborn.  The lack of support each feels from one another brings about Melanie asking for a divorce.  Gale becomes more of a peripheral fixture in Melanie and his daughter's lives until fifteen years later when he is stationed in the city they live in.  Melanie likes having Gale there to support her in raising their daughter but old hurts die hard and Gale is going to have to learn how to step up to the plate.  

It was easy to look at him sitting across from her at her kitchen table and embrace the fantasy man in uniform that so many pined for. But the reality of loving a man in uniform was so much harder. It was long nights without phone calls; it was missed births and birthdays.
It was acceptance of being alone and sharing this man with the army. And the army was a demanding mistress.

 Rarely do I get to read such a real story as this, Homefront is the first in its series and readers are going to need to strap in because it packs quite an emotional punch.  Timeline wise it covers only a couple months with a few past flashbacks but the way it opens a window into Melanie and Gale's relationship and lives is intense.  From Melanie's frustration in dealing with her daughter, Gale's paper shoving and babysitting at his job, and to their fear and desire to reconnect I felt voyeuristically locked in.  As the title suggests this story is about the home front, no terrorists, bombs, or adrenaline pumping chase scenes but rather dark, deep, and in the trenches emotional toil.  This book is going to hit you in the heart and gut.

Melanie is a character that women married to military members are going to deeply connect with.  The fear, frustration, and loneliness she feels had me wanting to reach through the pages and hold her hand. It's obvious she loves Gale but in the beginning her young age and sense of being overwhelmed lead her to, a bit, impulsively divorce him while now and what the story mostly focuses on, there are lingering feelings of anger and resentment for the lack of support she has felt through the years from Gale.  In the military there are a set of clearly defined rules, regulations, and operations for how to do things, not so in civilian life and what makes Gale slowly but surely escape into his job.  Caring for a wife and newborn while being gone most of the time clearly leaves Gale lost and confused.  Not having developed the maturity yet to deal with such issues, it becomes easier for Gale to bond more with his second family.  The saying older and wiser could not fit our couple more as they work to reconnect.  

If you couldn't tell already, this is a heavier toned book, especially when you add in the child mental health issues and abuse that make up a second storyline.  There are little humorous remarks and interactions sprinkled throughout but I would have liked to have seen Gale and Melanie outside of the home and in a more playful atmosphere for a more couples romance feel.   More flashbacks showing Gale and Melanie originally falling in love could have helped with this and given more of a reason for readers to cheer on their reconnection. Also, Gale was a great rounded out character showing his home, friendships, and work life but Melanie felt a little empty at times.  There is a little talk about her work but does she have any friends? Showing her having even a little bit of a life outside her daughter's issues would have made her feel more flushed out.  

Homefront, is a deeply moving look into a military family's life.  It could be nostalgic because you may have experienced it, therapeutic or comforting because you're going through it, or a dose of realism for civilians who will never live it.  No matter what though, Gale and Melanie will make you feel it all as they show that love never really dies, it just gets better.

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