Series: Home to Glory #1
Published by Harlequin Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military, Romance, Small Town Romance
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In Glory, Kansas, the best bakery in three counties may not only bring together ingredients for sweet treats, but be the place where—through the powerful mix of friendship, community and a well-stocked kitchen—a wounded hero can forge a forever kind of love.
Jack McConnell's back in the hometown he left behind five years ago, battle-scarred and feeling like half a man. But Betsy Lewis only sees the hero who saved her life and set her heart on fire. Now she's burning to save his life in return. She'll use every trick she's got up her sleeve, from her generous natural assets to her talent for baking, to coax Jack out from the bottom of his whiskey bottle.
At first, Jack responds to Betsy like any red-blooded man would. He's always denied his attraction to the innocent girl he used to know, but he's returned to find Betsy's grown into a full-on woman with strength enough for both of them. Until Jack realizes the only way to conquer his demons and be worthy of the hero's mantle she's pinned to his shoulders is to save Betsy one last time—from himself.
I love a good small town romance, nothing like everyone knowing everyone, and more than that everyone knowing everyone else’s business, makes for some interesting situations for sure. This book appealed to me not just because of the small town aspect but also because of the returning military member, I do love a good military romance.
So what I liked most about this book was Sara Arden’s portrayal of Jack. Jack is a returning military member, and like a lot of the military who returns from war, he did not come home in one piece. Jack has to overcome not just the physical effects of war but also the psychological. I think it can be really hard to have a character with PTSD, especially since unless you have been there yourself, it’s not really something that is easy to describe. I thought that Arden did a really good job with it though. Jack has some serious PTSD issues, and right off the jump in this book the reader is confronted with those issues, Jack contemplates committing suicide, which was both hard to read while at the same time making me really want the character of Jack to come out on the other side of this disorder intact and happy.
I really liked Betsy. It can be really hard on the loved ones of people who are suffering from things like PTSD, so it takes quite the person to voluntarily come into a situation where the relationship isn’t really established to begin with. I loved that she was just completely unwilling to let Jack give up, she made him confront his issues, and wanted to help him every step of the way. I liked that Betsy was realistic about the situation, not just assuming she could help him without getting any professional help, I loved that (I don’t like when characters assume their love can heal everything, it’s just not realistic).
Overall I thought this was a really good romance. It does tackle some heavy issues, but it was really sweet watching Jack’s evolution. I did think that towards the end of the book the story started to kind of slow down and not be as compelling, but it was still a good read, easily recommended.