4.5 stars--FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force’s is a contemporary, adult romance story line focusing on the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a US cruise ship blown up by suicide bombers. This is PR consultant Ava Lucas, and acquisitions specialist Eric Tilden’s story line. Told from several third person points of view including Ava and Eric, FIVE YEARS GONE focuses on the building relationship between PR consultant Ava Lucas, and acquisitions specialist Eric Tilden. Five years earlier Ava met and fell in love with John West, a member of the US Navy stationed in San Diego, California, but a man who disappeared in the blink of an eye. With an attack on the US cruise ship- The Star of the High Seas- blown up by suicide bombers that killed over 4,000 people, John’s deployment took him to places unknown, and our heroine waited for close to five years before finally moving on. With the approach of her sister’s wedding, Ava moves back to New York, in the hopes of starting over, and forgetting about the past. Enter acquisitions specialist, and the son of the New York governor, Eric Tilden, and the man with whom Ava would fall in love. What ensues is the building relationship and romance between Eric and Ava, and the potential fall-out as Ava struggles to let go of the past. For five years Ava has struggled to overcome the grief and heartache of loss but a loss that has left our heroine without closure or relief. Meeting and falling in love with Eric Tilden meant the possibility of a new start and moving forward but a start scarred by too many questions left unanswered. Eric Tilden knows betrayal first hand as he too was unable to get the closure he needed when his last relationship imploded leaving him a shell of his former self. Meeting Ava meant, he too, was given a second chance at love but a second chance mired in the murky unknown. The relationship between Ava and Eric is one of immediate attraction but Ava has never revealed what happened or why. Neither her parents nor her sister knew about the man she once loved, and revealing the truth frees up our heroine to begin anew. The $ex scenes are passionate but mostly implied. We are introduced to Ava’s sister Camille who married Eric’s brother Robert; Eric’s parents Bob and Sarah Beth Tilden; his sisters Amy and Jules, as well as Ava’s parent; Ava’s co-workers Trevor, Carlos, Miles Ferguson, and her roommate Skylar; and Jessica’s therapist Jessica Trudeau. Jessica has some great advice, advice that is difficult under the current circumstance. The world building focuses on the secrets and lies, heart break and loss. As the Tilden and Lucas siblings move beyond the past, a sudden and new revelation widens the chasm between child and parent. We get a brief glimpse into the relationship between Ava and John, a relationship mired in secrets and lies, but a relationship that elicits more questions than answers. FIVE YEARS GONE is a heart breaking, tragic and emotional story; a roller coaster of what-if and why; of unanswered questions; and the battle to move forward without looking back. The premise is strong, compelling and truly thought provoking story. The characters are broken, wounded but willing to take a chance; the romance is tender and releasing. FIVE YEARS GONE is a dramatic and impassioned look at the personal fall-out and destructive nature of hatred and war.
5 Star Review of Five Years Gone by Marie Force Five Years Gone is the latest stand alone novel by Marie Force and may I say what an amazing book it was to read. This is the beautifully written story of Ava Lucas and John West which had me in tears on numerous occasions. I am not sure how to write this review. Once in a while a book comes along that blows your mind, during and after you have finished it. Five Years Gone is one of those books for me that absolutely captivated me from the first chapter to the last (and oh what a last chapter). Ava knows that being with John is a risk, (after all he is military and he may be gone at a moments notice for parts unknown with little or no contact) but it is a risk she is willing to take, that is until the day it happens. When John is deployed, neither know whether it will be years, or if ever till, they meet again. After no contact for five years, Ava realises she must move on, but can she? Will she ever get over not knowing what happened or if John is even alive? When she meets Eric Tilden at her sister’s wedding Ava slowly begins to “come back to life”. Is Eric the man who can be there and support her and love her? Can Ava come to terms with a life without John and move forward with Eric? This book was such an emotional roller coaster of a read that it had my head and heart spinning in a variety of directions. In truth, at times I was scared where the story would lead but as Ms.Force is a master story teller I knew that my ride would eventually slow down. There is life after tragedy, that is the message throughout Five Years Gone, it is a story of sacrifice, of courage, of love, of devotion, of determination to overcome what life throws in your path Marie Force managed to shatter my heart and mend it whilst reading Five Years Gone. One click this book and be prepared for the ride of your life.
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Ava has been waiting for five years for any information about the man that she loves who just seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. John is military and had to leave on a mission after a terrorist attack but Ava can not find any information on him anywhere. After finally having enough and wanting to try to restart her life she moves to New York just before her sisters' wedding. At the wedding, she meets the best man and brother of the groom, Eric, who is also dealing with his issues after his girlfriend up and left him without a word. Eric helps Ava the night of the wedding cure her indulgence in alcohol with his cheese pizza cure. Eric and Ava start a great friendship which grows stronger after they confide in each other about their pasts. After video surfaced about the takedown of the terrorists, Ava is shocked to see John in the video and the past comes back to her in a rush. Ava finds out that John is still alive and he wants to see her. Eric is worried that Ava going to see John is going to ruin everything that they have built together especially after she shuts down after seeing John. This was the first-ever audiobook that I listened to and I am hooked on audiobooks now. Five Years Gone is the first book in the Navy Captain John West series by Marie Force, which can be read as a standalone or as the first novel in the series and is told in the first-person point of view by multiple characters. I enjoyed Five Years Gone and I am looking forward to more Marie Force books. This was a truly heart-wrenching story of love and sacrifice that takes you on a complete rollercoaster ride of emotions and keeps you hooked on the story to see what is going to happen next. Although I felt bad for John in the end, I am glad that Ava was finally able to get closure and find her HEA with Eric! I gave this book 5 stars for story and overall and 4 stars for the performance by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden as I was not completely sold on Joe as Eric but enjoyed him as all the other male characters.