Saturday, March 22, 2008
Come Meet A Soldier's Family (and be entered in book giveaway)
A lot of people say they want a book to have plenty of action right from the start. Well, how about starting off with a parachute that doesn't open, and the reader is seeing everything through the eyes of the jumper? Smashing into the trees, in and out of consciousness, aware that everyone is fearful for his life, pain. Will he live? Is his leg busted beyond repair? Will he have a chance to make some amends before passing on? Will he get to tell his best friend that he had asked Jesus to be his savior a few days before, so everything's okay if he does die?
Right from the first sentence, A Soldier's Family had me hooked. "This was not the smartest way to die." What? Let's face it, you have to keep reading with that opening. I suppose it's a bit of a spoiler to tell you that Manny Péna, the special teams pararescue jumper, does indeeed survive, but he needs to if there is any romance to come. While he survives, he has a long rehabilitation ahead of him for the damages done when he hit the tree (which was probably better than the ground), and there is a huge question over whether he will be able to return to the job he loves.
When Manny gets out of the hospital, he moves in with his best friend, Joel, and his wife Amber, until he is able to be on his own again. This puts him in constant contact with Celia, Amber's good friend and a lady that he embarrassed in the rudest way at a wedding. Rude enough that she slapped him hard. Since then, they have had an uncomfortable awkwardness between them, each attracted to the other yet certain of rejection if he or she tried to be friendlier. As it turns out, Celia's teenage son Javier responds in a miraculous way to Manny, so much so that his whole attitude and behavior changes. Since Celia's husband, a policeman, was killed in the line of duty several years back, life has been difficult for Javier and Celia, and Manny fills a need for Javier. Celia had promised herself never to fall in love with another man in a dangerous job, though, so she is fighting a battle with her own feelings. Manny is certain that Celia hates him, probably still holds that wedding fiasco against him. Celia doesn't like to reveal her true emotions at any time, and the two of them send mixed and misunderstood signals constantly.
I like the feisty Celia, although sometimes I want her to just open up a bit more, but she's a fun character. Manny is the kind of guy, at least now that he's a Christian, that man a woman would fall for, no doubt. A real hero type, but he has some past history to live down. This story has lots of snappy interchanges, clever episodes, and development that makes the reader care about the people in the story. You want to see Manny get back to his old self again, you want to see Javier mature into a fine godly young man. The strength that comes from God is evident in many ways, yet it is a natural part of the tale, not forced.
Cheryl Wyatt has made excellent use of her own experiences as a nurse, a mother, her experience with hip surgery and the military, weaving details that add realism. Her own tender heart and solid faith are evident as well. I look forward to more beautiful novels from Cheryl. I recommend this book for all ages, especially for those who love romance and military men/women!
You can buy A Soldier's Family at Amazon.com and Christianbook.com online, as well as many bookstores.
Cheryl Wyatt's website is here.
On Shoutlife, you can find Cheryl here
Miss Wyatt and her publisher, Steeple Hill, have generously offered a book for me to give away to one of the readers who leaves a comment on this blog or any of my other sites. So be sure to leave a comment !