A Soldier Comes Home, by Cindi Myers

12 Jul

A Soldier Comes Home, by Cindi Myers

This is a Harlequin Superromance, a relatively short novel at just under 250 pages. It is also my introduction to Ms Myers writing. The book tracks several different relationships affected by the current armed conflicts in which the US is involved.

Here’s the blurb:

It takes courage to start over

No one is waiting for him when Captain Ray Hughes returns from his tour of duty. With his soon-to-be ex-wife gone, it’s just him and his little boy now creating their own version of a family. Although he faces a lot of uncertainty, Ray is determined to raise his son the best way he knows how.

Chrissie Evans is a complication Ray didn’t expect. Almost against his will, he’s drawn into a relationship with his widowed neighbor. Chrissie is everything he could desire in a woman and he wants a future with her. But can he promise her what she needs to hear?

Single Father—He’s a man on his own, trying to raise his children. Sometimes he gets things right. Sometimes he needs a little help.

I liked the way the two main characters are introduced, each in his/her own private hell. Loneliness in the middle of a crowd, indeed. I also like that they don’t jump into bed after a week or two, instead letting the relationship develop—you know, as adults should do, particularly when there’s a kid around.

I thought the exposition was just a tad heavy-handed in just how cold and distant Ray’s parents are and how shallow and selfish Tammy, his soon-to-be ex-wife, is—but then again, it is conceivable that he may have fallen for her if she showed him a lot of attention, precisely because his parents are so cold. Then again, I also like that we get to see that Tammy is not two dimensional, and that some sense is made of her ill-advised decision to leave both Ray and T.J.

T.J. is a bit too precocious to be real—in my experience, no three year old has developed empathy enough to ‘worry’ about the feelings of the adults in his life. At most, he’ll project his own feelings and needs and wants onto them.

I liked Rita and Paul’s subplot at the beginning, but by the time it got solved, it seemed that its only purpose in the story was to serve as incentive for Chrissie to face her own baggage. Which is perfectly okay, but perhaps just a bit too obvious for me.

The ending is a little too neat for my tastes—but then I’m known for my dislike of epilogues.

Mostly, while I think it is important to write about the effect that war has on families and communities, I fear that my own baggage interferes with my enjoyment of this novel. As a child of divorced parents, and a divorced mother myself, my experience is that divorces are never neat things, and the custody agreement outlined in this book would conceivably damage the kid more than at least one other potential alternative.

6 out of 10

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