Title: Gooseberry Island
Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Format: egalley via Netgalley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My review (published at Read, Run, Ramble):
Thank you The Story Plant via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!
David is an Army Ranger. Lindsey grew up with a military father and is now helping her father deal with his PTSD. The two meet at what some might call the worst possible time – the night before David leaves for Afghanistan. Yet the two of them decide that beginning the relationship is doable despite the timing. Through letters, Skype, and email they get to know each other and even fall in love, but when David returns events don’t unfold quite how either of them thought they would and the relationship is put to the test.
There were many things in this book to love – the exploration of PTSD, the fact that war doesn’t end for a soldier just because he or she returns home, the strains put on families and friends when loved ones deploy, and Manchester’s beautiful writing. However, there were a few things that I didn’t love so much. The romance was just a bit much for me – too cheesy, sappy, and perfected. Even the “tough spots” were too scripted feeling to me. To be fair, most romance isn’t for me so in that vein, it is fair to say that many will love it. And at times the plot line felt jumpy or choppy – whole chunks of time where I’d be left wondering, “What happened and how much time really just passed?” This was mostly during David and Lindsey’s meeting and then again during David’s time in Afghanistan.
As for the characters, other than David’s and Lindsey’s romantic sides being way too much for me, I liked them all. Manchester shows many sides of the aftermath of war and deployment and I feel like he did so in a very authentic voice. Several different relationships are covered – parental, spousal, sibling, friendly, and so many more.
To sum it up, this book is worth the read. Manchester’s story sheds light onto a subject that I feel many would benefit from and it was enjoyable.
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.