I looked forward to reading this novel as I have read others about SAR teams but did not read the first one in this series; and with that scenario it is not always easy to pick up on the storyline as it carries over. This storyline was basically interesting and could have been very moving. The characters do much introspection and soul-searching as they strive to reconcile their feelings, their pasts, and their doubts. The two main characters are strongly presented and compelling. The young reporter (former SAR worker), widower was very powerful as a father of twin boys as he balanced work and the care of his children. His struggle with relationships and their impact on his boys was very realistic.
However, the timeline and flow were confusing at times and I felt that in several places things just did not continue in a smooth fashion that allowed you to move forward eagerly to get to the next high point. You were left during those places wondering what just happened?? The end of the novel seemed almost contrived to get you to buy the next novel! Hopefully, that one will fulfill the emotional needs of these characters and the needs of the reader.
I always appreciate an author and book(s) that take the time to make their characters realistic. This series consistently achieves that goal and makes the read engrossing. As we move farther away from domestic terror incidents like 9/11, these books should provide younger readers the opportunity to experience the confusion, sadness and loss of those terrible times. It also allows others to understand the personal and professional toll for first responders, and to consider a career in that arena. Thank you to the author!
Book Two in the First Responders Series, Honor Redeemed by Loree Lough, takes up from where Ashes to Honor left off.
Honor lost her fiance to rescue operations after the towers collapsed and hasn't been able to dig herself out of that constant soul-eating grief. Until Matt.
Matt is an investigative reporter, her worst favorite type of person. He has a set of mischievous and delightful ten-year-old twin boys that capture her heart, but Matt doesn't know that. All he knows for sure is Honor seems to be his other half--she knows what is in his mind before he does. She speaks his thoughts and completes his actions. But does she love his sons?
He loves his sons more than anyone or anything other than God. He won't allow them to be hurt by a woman who doesn't love them enough. So he...
But wait--I don't want to tell you too much. You might not get the book if I tell you the end. Let me just say this: I just bought A Man of Honor, the third book in the series, and it is fudging in front of some others on my "to read" pile.
Honor Mackenzie has dedicated her life to honoring the sacrifice of her finacee John who died in the search and rescue efforts of 9/11 as a volunteer. Now Honor has taken up a similar task as a SARs trainer. Since she is the best, she is the one that is most likely to be called upon whenever someone goes missing. Today she is at the scene of a jumbo jet accident that has crash landed on a busy highway with subsequent debris falling miles away. Now searching in the national park, she comes across the tail section of the plane along with the wing and survivors still trapped inside. This is where her heart is, finding and rescuing survivors.
Matt Phillips is the roving news reporter that has been called the the scene of the biggest headline, a plane crash and he's there to make sure that he captures all the details and takes the first pictures to make it to the papers before the morning edition. Dressing like a first responder, he hopes to find a rookie member of the rescue team that will allow him to blend in and capture the story, what he didn't hope to find is a face to face meeting with Honor Mackenzie who loathes reporters of all kinds especially one dressed as a search and rescue team member.
Both Honor and Matt are struggling with learning to let go of their pasts and learn to move forward even though the costs might be greater than they had hoped. Both are dealing with the losses of people that they have loved and lost and now just when their are hopes of them falling in love, both of them gain a sense that the risk of losing someone they love again, keeps them at arms lengths apart. When tragedy strikes one of them, will they find a way to put their past behind them and finally admit they are ready to take a second chance at love?
I received Honor Redeemed, book two in the First Responders Series by author Loree Lough compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours and Abingdon Press for my honest review. Being a huge fan of Loree's since reading her first book in the series From Ashes to Honor, I knew that I would read this one the moment it came to print. Loree's writing style will hook you right from the beginning and genuinely make you love her characters. Designed to showcase the lives of First Responders, this one spotlights the actions of SARs or Search and Rescue responders and shows just how difficult and rewarding their lives can be as well as that of their canine companions. You will not be disappointed to read this one as a stand alone, but trust me, once you do, you'll have to go back and read her first book in the series as well where the story of Mercy and Austin first came to life. They are now supporting characters in this novel. I highly recommend this one to animal lovers, first responder fans and those looking for a great suspense romance and easily award this my highest rating a 5 out of 5 stars.
The second in this series is very much like the first. Honor is involved in Search and Rescue, working with her two dogs. Matt is a past rescue worker, but when his wife died and left him with twin boys to raise, he became a newspaper reporter.
When these two meet, there is attraction on both sides. The novel consists of the struggles the two have over past hurts, trying to come to a point where each can make a commitment to the other.
This is a very character driven novel. Much of the text consists of the characters thinking, trying to convince themselves making a commitment is the right thing to do, pulling back, then being sorry, then thinking of making a commitment, worrying about it...
There is a little more action in this novel than the first in the series as Honor actually does go out on a dangerous rescue. However, the action of the rescue is missing as we go from her arriving on the scene to to her being in need of rescue herself. It is rather odd, though, to have novels about the important people who first respond in times of crisis yet the response work actually not being part of the novel (while it is talked about by some of the characters). Lough is a writer of ruminating thoughts, not of dramatic scenes.
The ending in unsatisfactory. The characters at the end of the novel have not worked through their issues and are no more ready to make a commitment than they were at the beginning. So what is the point of the novel? There's no growth in the characters, no resolving of issues. So why even read it? Why go through a couple of hundred pages of emotional drama and end up right where you started?
Lough writes for emotional drama and sometimes, it seems to me, with unsatisfactory results. One example is at the end of chapter 19. Honor has fallen asleep in the arms of Matt, at Honor's home. He is thinking some serious thoughts about their relationship, about when she wakes up. Thoughts that will have an immediate effect on their relationship. Yet the next chapter begins in a totally different situation. There is no Matt leaving her house, no further action on those serious thoughts Matt was thinking. Granted, reference was make a bit later about his leaving in the morning, but only in reference to his nanny for the boys, not in regard to the relationship between Matt and Honor. I felt Lough had brought the novel to a serious point, and then just moved on to another scene, as if the night before had never happened.
In my mind, an editor needs to go through her writing an point out these areas of heightened emotion which do not move the novel forward but are only for drama.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.