This book...well, for one thing it ended up being a bit of a surprise for me...mind you a pleasant surprise. I've been pondering this one since I finished it yesterday. I like to do my reviews fairly soon after I've finished the book so that everything is fresh in my mind and with this book that was a bit of a challenge because I wasn't sure how to approach my review.
Before I get into the heart of this I just want to deal with what was my only real issue and that was the editing or more accurately the need for much stronger editing and because I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book to read I'm going to assume that while I was busy reading the book it was busy receiving a final edit that will hopefully resolve most if not all of the things that I stumbled on. Now as for the story...
You see here's my dilemma, the author has written one book but it actually contains 3 different stories. Stories that while they are distinctly individual are also so interconnected you can't possibly read one or two and leave anything out so 3 stories but at the same time one story.
Part 1 of this book deals with Jamie's life. Jamie or James Massey comes from a family with a strong military history and as a dutiful son he becomes determined not to break the tradition and enlist in the army before heading off to college where he discovers a whole world he never knew about but in spite of all that happens while he's at college he follows through on his commitment and goes of to basic training shortly after graduation day.
There's more of Jamie's military life than his personal life in this and yet in spite of that we are given a strong picture of who Jamie is. Jamie's story is heartbreaking in many ways and while at times I felt it was a somewhat dry account I also appreciated that it wasn't filled with overly strong emotion or flowery sentimentality. I truly felt like I was seeing Jamie's life through his eyes and it was harsh and brutal, but to even begin to understand Jamie the reader needed to see the world through his eyes. Both his military life and his personal life because they were so strongly tied together. What Jamie endured in the military and outside of it was often cruel and heartbreaking and what shone through was the strength that this man had, his ability to endure and rise above the worst of life's challenges.
Part 2 is about Chris Baker. Chris is so different. He grew up on a ranch with loving and supportive parents to become the golden boy of the rodeo circuit.
Chris's parents wanted nothing more than for him to one day take over the ranch but when Chris wanted to go off to college and do something different than be a rancher they supported this decision.
College is where he meets Ben. Theirs was definitely a whirlwind courtship and while I'm not usually a fan if love at first sight. I really liked how it was handled in this instance. In spite of their strong attraction Chris and Ben were practical about how they approached their relationship. They gave themselves time and got to know each other and their insta-love turned into a genuine relationship before these men truly committed to one another.
Sadly for both of these men along with the tragedy that they experienced in their professional lives there was also personal tragedy that left each of them lost and floundering for direction and purpose, it is at this point that their lives cross and the last part of the book becomes about them.
Part 3 is not a magical happily ever after for Chris and Jamie. I'm not saying it's not there. I'm just saying that they work damned hard to create it. This part of the book is in its own way gut wrenching and heartbreaking. Watching Chris and Jamie fight for what they want battling their own demons as well as each others. This is the part of the story where the author hooked me and hooked me good. I loved that Jamie got to have a Chris in his life after everything he'd been through in the army and personally he deserved someone who was always going to be in his corner. Someone who would always believe in him and Chris got the same...he got Jamie. Jamie who was yes, incredibly damaged, but still so strong and brave and honorable and so filled with love that he'd never had a chance to freely give. It wasn't the happily ever after that melted my heart so much as the hard won battle to get it.
Resurrection was one of those stories that while you're reading it, it seems ok and you like it. It has some really good moments but afterwards you think about it and you look at it in it's entirety and realize that what you read was much better than you had first perceived it to be and that it touched your heart in a way that books don't always do which is why I ended up giving this book 4 stars. Part 1 was probably a shaky 3 stars for me while part 2 was a very solid 3.5 heading towards 4 and part 3 wrapped it up with a definite 4+ stars so overall I'm comfortable with saying 4 stars for a first time book from a first time author in spite of the need for some final edits.
Also I just want to take a moment to mention the cover. I didn't get to see it until today, so after I'd read the book and when I looked at it and thought about the story that I'd read it left me a little speechless as to just how perfect this cover is for this story.
***An ARC of this book was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.***