REVIEW: Band of Brothers: Standalone Sequel to The Marine by Cheryl Reavis
Marine Sergeant Joshua Caven
Josh finally has his shattered personal life in some kind of order. He has found the family he never knew he had, and thanks to them, he can do his duty and complete his deployment in Afghanistan, knowing his baby daughter is safe. It should be smooth sailing . . . until Chris Young–the living, breathing reason his wife abandoned him and their baby–is assigned to his unit.
Corporal Danny Benton
Danny knows the Marine Corps basically saved his life, but he still feels guilty for joining–escaping–and leaving his younger brother to deal with their alcoholic father. But there’s nothing he can do except be the best Marine he can be and to come home and marry his girl. He has no reason to think she won’t wait for him–until a Dear John letter arrives.
Hospital Corpsman Chris Young
It’s hard enough to be a sand sailor working with a group of Marines, but when his unit is headed up by the man he unwittingly betrayed, it definitely gets uncomfortable. Then an encounter with local hostiles goes horribly wrong and both men are wounded. And while Chris’s wounds aren’t serious, the guilt is eating him up. Because his Sergeant is in the hospital, fighting for his life. All because he saved Chris’s . . .
A Marine does his duty, no matter what. But what none of them expects is to have their upended lives suddenly made even more complicated by . . . love.
Dear Ms. Reavis,
Though I bought both these books a few years ago when they were released, it’s taken me a while to be able to get to them. Once I’d finished “The Marine,” I hurried through my reading schedule so that I could jump right back into this world. I’m a little at a loss as to how to describe it. It’s not a standard romance though there are two romances in it and it’s not Women’s Fiction though there are plenty of women in it. Male Military Fiction but not a lot of scenes of actual war? Hmmm, I might have to come back to this and polish it up a bit.
The title says it all: Standalone Sequel to The Marine. Someone who hasn’t read that book could start with this one as the main points of that book – and there are several – are explained. But, thank God, this is not done in a “first three pages of the book info dump” fashion. Instead what we need to know is summarized when it’s important during the action to know it.
Sergeant Caven is back with his squad after having found family care for his toddler daughter Elizabeth. Out on a patrol, things go badly and not only is he injured but it happens while he’s saving the life of the man who had an affair with Josh’s wife and precipitated their divorce. Danny Benton, whose brother is dating one of Josh’s family members, is also (lightly) injured and the three of them wind up back in the States, two at Walter Reed Medical Center and Danny back in Jacksonville where he will face his drunk sonofabitch father.
As Josh fights to recover and learn what the hell is going on with his treatment – honestly do military medical doctors keep their patients this out of the loop? – he gets to reconnect with the mother who gave him up as a baby though at times neither is happy during the process. Sandra Kay also makes life shitty for Chris as she ropes him into whatever she needs done and he can do from his wheelchair. He’s not happy either both with Sandra Kay bossing him around and with his guilt at being the cause of the man he betrayed now being so badly wounded.
Danny starts to get to know the teacher who took over the care of his dog when Danny’s former girlfriend left him (the dog) tied to a fence post. Danny also tries to run interference for his younger brother with the above mentioned drunk sonofabitch father even as his guilt for his actions during the patrol firefight eat him alive.
Then there are the other women in Josh’s family who he’s still getting accustomed to having about and caring for him after a lifetime in foster care. But he’s a Marine and the Marines never leave a man – or woman – behind once those people are part of the Marine family.
There were times when this was not an easy book to read. Following Josh’s slow progress back to as good as he’s going to get was hard. Despite being pretty much bed bound until the doctors decided his eyes had healed enough to find out if Josh would ever see again, he’s got a guilt ridden sand sailor HM (Navy corpsman) in and out of his room, an alcoholic ex-wife trying to get custody of baby Elizabeth, and his take-no-prisoners mother.
Danny makes a ton of mistakes too as he tries to flirt with a woman he knows is worth the effort even if he’s also learning that she’s got some issues from her past military service that allow her to see his issues and know he needs to do something about them. There’s the drunk sonofabitch father Danny is desperate to keep from hurting his younger brother anymore. Then there’s the Marine Corps who still run his life, telling him where to go, what to do, and when to do it. But only when he needs to know.
As the book progressed, lots of threads and subplots get introduced and frankly, I wondered how everything would be tied up by the end. The story is very much show and not tell although there is a ton of dialog and a lot of introspection among the characters. Some things are built up then after impacting the main characters, are dealt with and out of the way quickly while a few come back to sting. Some things are taken care of “off page” or are left as works in progress. Both romances are slow burn and end as HFN. Even with some dangling issues for both, I get a good feeling that they will both work out. I would have liked to see what the future might hold for Chris.
I do like that not everything is easy. There are speed bumps and pot holes along the way. Life is sometimes messy and chaotic but the family that has been made here will be there for each other through thick and thin. And Marines will try and makes sure that fellow Marines are squared away because they truly are a band of brothers. Semper Fi. B