I held on

Hold on Tight - Serena Bell

Originally posted on The Book Nympho


Quick summary
Eight years ago, Jake Taylor was on a one-week leave before his deployment to Afghanistan when he met Mira Shipley and found himself falling for her. He abruptly ended their time together because he didn't need the distraction before going to war. Now, he's back stateside having lost his leg and is face-to-face with the woman and the 7-year old son he unknowingly left behind because Mira never could find him.


What this story isn't
This wasn't about "insta-love" or the same old tired story about a secret child. Mira always wanted Jake to know she was pregnant but when they parted, she didn't know enough about him to locate him and she tried hard. Their romance was one of those situations where they just fit and were really well matched. So, the story starts at a really good place...both of them plenty wary and with lots at stake.


What really works
Mira is pretty young but has her head screwed on right. She wants her son to know his father but needs to make certain Jake's committed. He's really struggling, going through the motions of life and is shocked into a wake up call but it doesn't happen immediately. Everyone takes their time here, not making any fast decisions and examining personal motives, aspirations and feelings. Sam is a great kid who lightens things up wonderfully without being used as a cheap story device.


My one "nit"
As much as the introspection by both characters was extremely valuable, the story could have used more "doing" than "telling." Those moments slowed the pace and bogged down too often.


The bottom line
It's a wonderful, true and authentic story of two people who were probably destined to be together but life's obstacles got in the way. Their journey back was made more interesting because of those challenges. Bell is a gifted writer, giving us a unique perspective of the realities of someone who's lost a limb and how that reshapes him or her mentally and physically. It's also a story of triumph and is inspiring.


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)