Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Soldier's Devotion

Slam! Before he can even react, Vince Reardon found himself catapulted off his Harley and into the rain-sodden intersection. Inside he is seething with rage at the stupid lady driver who hit him. She was too distracted on her cell phone to notice him in time to stop, and now his precious bike was splattered all over the road. If he wasn't in so much pain, Vince would have probably exploded in anger, but instead the woman saw a vulnerable part of him that he kept hidden. Worse yet, she was one of those praying Christians who insisted on praying over him unti the paramedics came. She pitied him, something he couldn't stand. Even worse still, she turned out to be a lawyer, the lowest form of life in Vince's opinion.

Cheryl Wyatt's latest novel, A Soldier's Devotion, starts off with a van-motorcycle wreck, promising action and tension from the very first sentence. In the sixth story of the Wings of Refuge series published by Love Inspired Books, the most cynical and crusty member of the Pararescue Jumpers is featured. Vince Reardon has already shown himself to be antagonistic to God, church, and Christians. He's a hard-drinking, sarcastic, biker dude who likes easy women and parties hard. Ironically, though, Vince is totally dedicated to his special ops team and their rescue work, belying a tender heart underneath all that grump and gruffness. He bemoans the fact that more and more of his team members are going "over to the enemy" by becoming Christian, yet he has a high level of respect for all these guys. His team members understand him better than he supposes: they know he has some deep hurts that have turned him bitter and hard.

Enter Valerie Russo, the van-wielding attorney who makes a bad--and painful--first impression on Vince. She believes God has brought her across his path for a purpose, in spite of the bad beginning, and she is determined to get through to him. So begins a battle of wills and stubbornness, with occasional misunderstandings alons the way.

Vince is the toughest of the team addressed so far, but as the story unfolds we learn what made him the way he is; the hardships of his life have served to both toughen him  for his job and to insulate him from human contact. He cares for others, as he shows with the teens, but he is afraid to open up with peers.

In a secondary story, a group of at-risk teenagers are introduced. They serve to bring Val and Vince together, but through them a serious social issue is addressed. This time it's abuse. Each one of Cheryl's books has included some issue like this, real issues that teens and adults deal with every day.

Cheryl Wyatt has a strong grasp on scripture and what it means to live as a follower of Jesus, and once again it shines through her writing. Her Christian characters live their faith in their daily lives; this is what makes a difference in each of her stories. Two of the guys have been praying for Vince for five years; patiently being real in front of him and not pouncing. There is an understanding here about  things happening in God's time and in God's way.

While A Soldier's Devotion is a part of a series, it definitely can stand alone. The characters from other books walk in and out of the story, but each novel is independent. It is a romance novel, so certain developments are fairly obvious from the beginning, but it still has nuances, turns, and humor that make it lively. Teens (at least 14 or so, anyway) will enjoy it as well as adults.

The way Love Inspired Books work, this will only be on shelves until the end of January in many stores. I found it at a large Kroger Store; I found Cheryl's other books at Target, Meijer's and Walmart. But since I got this review up so late, you can get it online after January ends at such sites as, Barnes  and Noble, and

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Steeple Hill (June 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0373875320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373875320

1 comment:

Paulette Harris said...

Sweet Sister, thank you for your kind words concerning Maggie on

For the life of me, I can't find an email address for you to send a note. Mine is

Please email me so I have your address and can keep in touch.

Hugs in Jesus,
Paulette Harris.