I’ll be home for Christmas…
A batch of special Christmas cookies helps a wounded ex-Ranger remember the love of his life. A surprise phone call reunites a woman with the soldier who once broke her heart. There’s no place like home for the holidays, and there’s no better way to spend them than with the one you love.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Starting from Scratch by Stacy Gail
MinnChica: Oh, this story killed me in the best possible way!! I’m not always a big fan of amnesia stories, but I thought Gail put such an amazing touch on the characters, their situation, and the overall book. I can’t even count the number of times I burst into tears, both happy and sad. With this one story, Gail has cemented a place in my contemporary authors to buy list!
E: I started getting worried about this story when I saw numerous accounts of reviewers read this with a box of tissues. I attempted to start reading this story on my morning commute and quickly decided that since I was without my box of tissues I needed to wait until I was home and away from the public eye. I was very glad I made that decision because this story gripped my heart and really never let go.
MinnChica: There was so much awesomeness in this story, I can’t even tell you. The emotions that Lucy had to go through, knowing that her husband remembered almost everything in his old life except for their marriage was so heartwrenching. Yet, the strength she showed by still trying to support him in any and every possible way was so amazing. When we got to the end and realized that Sully had started to gain some of his memories back killed me. I was a big old puddle of tears by that point, and I loved every second of it. I just wish Gail would have had more time to explore them re-building their marriage.
I give Starting from Scratch an A
E: Gail did a great job with this story by emphasizing that it isn’t only the the military member who has to adjust to their new normal but also the family members. I thought the way Gail had Sully receive his epiphany about the connection with Lucy was extremely touching. I just wish there was more shown about the journey of Lucy learning to trust Sully as they worked to build a new relationship together. As a result while this story packed a punch I found myself slightly let-down by the conclusion.
I give Starting from Scratch a B+
Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley
MinnChica: After having to follow Gail’s amazing story, Crowley had a lot to live up to. While I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first story in the anthology, it was still a beautiful telling of a soldier dealing with the fallout of wartime injuries. I just wish that Crowley would have given us a little more in the end, especially pertaining to Chris’ injuries and prognosis.
E: I enjoyed the change of pace with this particular story. While it didn’t pack the same heartwrenching punch as the first story I loved how Crowley focused on Chris’ emotional growth. He really needed to start seeing beyond himself and how his attempts at self-sufficiency were actually causing more harm than good. At the same time I could also see how difficult it was for a man accustomed to being the strong one to suddenly transition into needing help from those who had depended on his strength. Unlike MinnChica I felt that this was a complete self-contained story and I did not find myself wanting the rest of the story spelled out.
MinnChica: I wanted to give poor Beth a huge hug from almost start to finish. The pain that she went through, realizing why Chris cut ties with her was hard for me to read. Especially when he continued to push her away for reasons she was clearly okay to deal with in their relationship. I did enjoy watching Chris realize the extent of the pain he was causing Beth, and how he tried to deal with not only showing her he cared, but also dealing with his injuries to the best of his abilities. I really did want more though, while we absolutely got our HEA at the end, I wanted that extra special, rainbows-on-top HEA of knowing that Chris would recover completely and they could ride off into the sunset.
I give Hero’s Homecoming a B.
E: I thought it was great when Beth didn’t let Chris get away with his actions towards her nor did she attempt to baby him. She expected that he would tell her what assistance he needed instead of just presuming. To me that attitude probably helped Chris sense what he could have. Crowley did a fabulous job of making Chris understand exactly what he symbolized and how much his small town cared about who they considered one of their own. Seeing that car extended to Beth was very touching. I think that scene was one of my favorites because it all came together, his hopes, fears, and the possibilities.
I give Hero’s Homecoming an A-