Put together a reclusive wounded veteran, an angry rebellious teenager, and a failed musician and what would have been a recipe for disaster becomes the long road back to healing and restoration. Greer's moment of inebriated rage lands her in a community service program where her unconventional approach to reaching her clients earns her their respect and that of her mentor. Ally's anger stems from the death of her father and the inability of her mother to handle their terrible loss. Emmett has lost his leg but the loss of his teammates draws him into a darkness that no one can penetrate. Greer is just lost. Feeling like a miserable failure she returns home to lick her wounds. As with all really good writers, I found that once I started reading this book, I was unable to put it down. Waking up in the middle of the night, instead of turning over and shutting my eyes, I instead got up and gleefully crept into the lounge where I could continue to read in peace. I enjoyed the wit and Greer's streetwise approach to Emmett and Ally, as she pushed her way past their objections and bad attitudes. Once Emmett gets beyond his anger at Greer for ignoring his warnings about approaching his cabin, he finds a spark of humor bubbling up within him at her outrageous comebacks. Ally has thwarted all attempts to reach her, but when she discovers an echo in Greer's own past, she pauses in her verbal assaults long enough to really listen. This novel is heartwarming and moving, dealing with real people and very real problems. I laughed and I cried, sometimes at the same moment. The book is a standalone and comes to a successful and hope-filled ending. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.
Greer Hadley isn't winning at life. After leaving her small town to make it big in Nashville she's returned a decade later, having blown her last big chance, only to find her boring boyfriend in bed with another woman. Then to top it off she has one too many tequilas to drown her sorrows and ends up being sentenced to community service at a music therapy centre for veterans and their families. Greer gets two of the most difficult cases: Ally Martinez, a teenager whose father has died and has turned to petty theft and general surliness as a way of acting out her sadness; and Emmett Lawson her former high school crush who has returned from combat missing a leg. This could have been formulaic but in Laura Trentham's steady hands the romance and the humour are well-balanced and the angst is pretty low key. I loved the snarky interactions between Greer and her two awkward clients, the way that she never knows from day-to-day whether they will see her again, her tough love brand of therapy whilst struggling with her own issues. All in all I absolutely devoured this novel - just loved it! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Everyone in this story has something to overcome or deal with – and the romance, while there, is background in a ‘coupled up’ sense, to allow the characters to find their own joys again, rebuild confidence and improve their relationships. Greer lost everything she thought she had, and after one bad decision after the next finds herself back with her parents and assigned to volunteer with a group that serves the military and their families – through a court decision. She’s totally at a loose end when thinking of this – because she feels her music failed her, and there is nothing she has to offer. Particularly not to a fifteen year old girl who lost her father in Afghanistan, and is acting out in her grief. Greer is thinking she’ll put in the hours and do the ‘work’ while she plans something different and perhaps a new career. Seeing much of herself in Ally (the teen), and finding a talent there: Greer decides that she can help Ally and nurture her talent while steering the young girl away from the pitfalls that she danced through without thinking. When she sees that she’d managed to get through to Ally – and their relationship is improving as Ally learns to deal with her anger and grief over her father’s death, she’s given the task of approaching an old school mate, recently returned from war. Emmett was the golden boy in town, and Greer finds that he’s not only unwilling to engage – but doesn’t believe that he’s worth anyone taking time to help him. He’s angry, frustrated and scared, and while he knows Greer from school and the town, he doesn’t expect her stubborn refusal to ‘go away’ and forget about him. She’s feeling more confident with the success she’s had with Ally, and she’s determined that Emmett has more to share. Everyone here has some steps to take in their own journey of self-discovery, and no one is more surprised than Greer to find that everything she thought was lost, and could never be found were returning – slowly but surely. And there’s even a delicate dance with Emmett – one that both are not entirely sure they are ready for, but want to take that chance anyway. As previously stated, the romance here is really one of “friends” and “self” as everyone finds a better way to move forward and acknowledge their own issues, work on them, and learn to rely on other people to listen, understand, accept and support. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.