I finished this book way back in January, but I have gotten way behind on posting all of my reviews. Life has caught up, and given me a few curveballs along the way these last couple of months. Anyways, this was an interestind read, find out why!
It took 20 years for perfectionist PR pro Kate Masters to fall for her best friend, Army scout Ethan Shepherd, but only seconds for their lives to shatter. When an ill-fated deployment cuts short Ethan’s life, Kate’s perfectly planned future vanishes. Heart in pieces, Kate abandons who she is for a reckless and dangerous existence.
Army medic Nick Hunter made a promise to Ethan, his brother-in-arms, before tragedy ripped his friend away. Upon leaving the military, Nick moves to Ethan’s hometown, his determination to uphold his promise as strong as his need to heal his own broken heart. What he finds when he arrives isn’t at all what he thought he was getting into. Kate isn’t interested in healing, making it impossible for Nick to keep his promise.
To survive grief this profound, Kate must learn how to forge a new path, and open herself up to the possibility of an unplanned happiness.
The Day He Went Away explores the devastation of loss, the beauty in losing yourself, and the transcendent power of grief.
I read this book because the blurb caught my attention (And because it has some elements in it that hit close to home to the book I’m writing – SPOILER ALERT!!). I was in the mood for an intense, emotional read at the time, and this seemed like just the thing to satisfy that need.
The book started of alternating POV’s between Kate and Ethan, which I enjoyed. Ethan has loved Kate since they were kids – and best friends, but it took Kate up until now to catch on, and give into the desire to explore the possibility of them as a couple.
As they finally connect, Ethan is deployed again, and is tragically killed. You read along with him right to his demise, which is a little more intense than just being told that it has happened. You get a glimpse into his last thoughts, his last breaths, it makes you stop and ponder what you would consider in that final moment.
Then there is Kate, the girl who always ‘mastered’ everything. And she literally falls apart in the most grueling way. She grieves as intensely as she finally gave her heart to Ethan just before he left. She, who was always so kept together and on the ball with everything, just loses it.
In enters Nick, Ethan’s best friend from the army. He has had his own hardships to face, and losing Ethan took its toll on him quite forcefully. Yet he keeps his vow to Ethan, and watches over Kate. He tries endless ways to reach out to her, and help her process the grief and move forward.
They both also are confronted with a growing attraction for each other, something that is hard to process considering their feeling of loyalty to Ethan.
This story was a real emotional ride. Ethan and Kate are perfect for each other. To then read about his death, and face the finality of that, was hard. It was not the fluffy, light romance I often read. This was more right up there in your face as you get the whole love story, and then get it ripped out of your reach. It stung.
To then add a total stranger – to Kate anyways – and have this budding friendship turn into romance, and deliver it in such a way that you as a reader can actually buy it, is not an easy thing. Millikin does this so smoothly, you transition into the several stages of this book without a hitch. Kate faces some hard truths whilst dealing with this shattering reality without Ethan. And she learns to open up her heart again.
This book left me thoughtful after reading it. The way someone moves forward from such pain, and finds someone to hold your hand in the process is inspiring. It paints a realistic picture of how relationships aren’t always the standard fall in love – get married – live HEA. This shows some real life issues, some real life emotions, with such a hopeful note, it left me feeling sad in that good way. Definitely worth it if you can handle the sadness!
About the Author
Jennifer Millikin is a contemporary fiction author who wants her stories to make readers feel something passionate- love, agony, maybe even hate. Her latest project, The Day He Went Away, was released on November 10th. She’s currently working on Our Finest Hour, book one of The Time Series.
Jennifer lives in Scottsdale, Arizona and can be found chasing around her two young kids, retrieving crayons from the mouth of her lab puppy, and roping rattlesnakes (just kidding. Or…?).
She loves hearing from readers, so reach out!
For a free copy of Full of Fury: A Full of Fire novella, visit jennifermillikinwrites.com. Only available on her website.
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