Arc was given by The Wild Rose Press & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This review is being published after the release date (November 16th 2021)
Content/Trigger Warnings: Trauma/PTSD (flashbacks, night terrors), brief/vague mentions of fatphobia
“All I wanted was to find the honey-blonde curls of a woman who had ghosted into my life and disappeared.”
This was the perfect read to snuggle up with. Seriously, I loved curling up with this short, wholesome read. I think far too often we see the typical holiday romance stories, but never enough of them that revolve around military members. I’ve only mentioned it a few times, but my own spouse served this the military. So this novella has a soft place in my heart. Truly, this was everything I could have wanted for a holiday read.
Dominic Cage has just returned home from deployment and things seem, feel different, and wants nothing more than to continue filling up the holes in his life with work. Until a beautiful honey-blonde woman rushes into his life at the airport. Now the remnants of this brief encounter have the ghost of this woman filling up his thoughts and Cage is determined to track her down. As fate would have it, they meet a lot sooner than he expected.
With my whole chest, I can’t say how much I loved these characters. Our main character Dominic is suffering from PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder, that develops from exposure to traumatic events (war, abuse, traffic collisions, etc…), and he’s struggling with adjusting to anything that’s related to civilian life. Dominic will constantly talk about him not deserving of love, happiness, or even building a life for his own outside of the military. Truly, Dominic as the main character was a excellent perspective to read this book through. There’s also our mystery lady, Violet. Violet is absolutely precious. She’s one of those characters who sees the good in everyone and no matter their flaws or hardships, loves them anyway. I want to add a little side note that she is plus-sized. It’s never directly stated, but from her own dialogue it’s hinted that she’s plus-sized.
“Change didn’t come easily to me, but she had slipped into my meager existence, nestling in as though there’d always been a place reserved for her in it.”
This book is so beautifully written and has some of the best themes I’ve read in a book all year. This novella is about adjusting to new environments and life after experiencing traumatic events. It’s about finding love in the unlikeliest of places and learning that no matter how broken we may feel, we are deserving of love and happiness. And I just want to say, as someone who lives with PTSD, I thought the trauma and PTSD representation was handled very well, and accurately. It felt so real, from the small parts we get. That alone makes me want to shove this book into everyone’s hands.
The love in this book is very much insta-love. Now, those who know me know I’m not the biggest fan of instant love. I think I’m just too picky on how it’s done, but I really loved the way the romance blossomed in this book. And I want to say, if you’ve never dated or married someone who’s in the military then the insta-love my feel weird or off to you, but I can say as someone who has, this is very accurate for relationships with military members, at least in my experiences. With someone in the military, tomorrow is never guaranteed (there’s always another deployment around the corner or they’re being shipped off to another base and you can’t go with them) and so time is of the absolute importance.
Overall, I truly loved this novella. I wish I had more words to sum up how much I loved it, but I think keeping it simple is the best way to say I adored it. With the holidays right around the corner, this book holds such a soft spot in my heart and is probably my favorite holiday read of 2021. And if I didn’t mention already, this is a short book. You’re bound to fly through this one. So if you’re looking for a holiday short-story, then please add this one to the list. Truly, in my opinion, I feel like we never get many holiday romance stories revolving around military members or veterans and I just think this is a really great book to add to one’s tbr pile this winter season.
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.