Rating: 4.5 stars
As I mentioned in my review of The Embattled Road, I first encountered this author, at the Lori Foster RAGT. If you haven't read The Embattled Road, I highly suggest you do so before reading this one. Although Embattled Hearts can be read as a standalone, the reader won't fully understand the bond between John, Duncan, and Chad without reading the prequel first. With that said...
Embattled Hearts is a wonderful beginning to what I hope will be a long running series.
I love the premise of this series. Military men and women face many challenges when they return from combat, and this series doesn't shy away from any of them. In Embattled Hearts, Shannon breaks through the walls that John has built up since losing the use of his legs. He sees himself as less of a man given all the limitations he has since returning home from war. When he acknowledges his attraction to Shannon, it only makes him feel like less because he is sure there is no way he can be the man she needs. Shannon, however, feels differently.
This book is set five years after the end of The Embattled Road. I like how the author made the decision to bring us back to these characters after some time had past and their business was in full swing. At no point did I feel the story was rushed. We were able to see John and Shannon's relationship develop naturally with the bumps in the road one might expect given their challenges.
When I was sitting down to write this review, I struggled some on what to rate this story. As an author, I know how much work goes into writing and editing a story. When it's clear the author didn't care enough to hire a good editor, or the publisher didn't, I have an issue and normally lower my rating accordingly. However, with this book I found myself in a bit of a conundrum. The first third of the book was nicely edited. There were no missing words, and things flowed well. Then, the momentum of the story picked up and the editing started falling apart. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't so bad that there was an issue on every page, but it was enough for me to really take notice.
As I said, normally, when there are editing issues, I take the rating down, however I chose not to do that with this book. The reason why? Because this was clearly an editor issue and not an author issue. My guess is that the editor got so caught up in the story that they began missing edits.
Still, this was a great story. I highly recommend Embattled Hearts to anyone looking for a realistic romance with wounded, but lovable, military heroes.
USA Today Bestselling author J.M. Madden writes compelling romances between 'combat modified' military men and the women who love them. An eternal optimist, she believes there is a soulmate for everyone, no matter what the situation or physical challenge. She's written 16 romances in the past three years and has plans for many more.Website