The Book Gourmet

Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.



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A Hero to Come Home To by Marilyn Pappano

A Hero to Come Home To - Marilyn Pappano

Carly Lowry had lost her husband to the war in Afghanistan and she cannot imagine letting any other man close enough to break her heart. The only company and solace she needs, she gets from her fellow Army widows. Then Dane Clark walks into her life, and maybe Fate is offering Carly another chance of being happy and getting the best of life.

I came to know the little town of Taallgrass, Oklahoma in the short story A Family for Christmas. I liked Ilena, the Army widow determined to continue with her life, even after losing her husband, so I expected all the members of the Tuesday Night Margarita Club (all Army widows) to be just like Ilena. Sure, they've lost the men they loved, but they weren't afraid of living their life after their husband's death.

Unfortunately, this story proved me wrong with its prologue in which Carly was so far removed from a human being accepting her Fate (a whole year after her husband's death, mind you), it made me queasy. She improved quite a lot throughout the story, but there were always moments that made me roll my eyes...Like her refusal to pack her husband's stuff two years later, stubbornly wearing his favorite perfume, even though she didn't really like it, refusal to make any changes to the house...Until she met her hero.
Who was even worse with his pity party about his lost leg. At least you're alive, you ass!

Yes, maybe this review is making me appear heartless or at least cold-hearted, and yes, I understand people grieve in different ways, but did we really have to be saddled with an unable unwilling-to-move-on heroine and a self-pitying hero with body-image issues?

They got on my nerves so much (him more and more as the story progressed, while she improved) that I couldn't have been bothered to enjoy their "romance". Which felt rushed at least judging from the ending. They worked better as friends, IMO.

There were other problems with the story that cannot be overlooked: the two side-plots involving one of Carly's friends who should've killed her spoiled, self-centered bitch of a stepdaughter and buried her in their backyard instead of turning her other cheek as the good book teaches, the rancher, who lost his wife because she couldn't live without her legs (talk about selfish), that had a one-night stand with another of Carly's friends (I don't know why, I guess it will serve as background for their book), and the whole praying, churchgoing, bible-reading-in-the-evening shtick. At first it pissed me off at the publisher for not warning unsuspecting readers, but then I just skipped those parts.

I liked the premise, and it had its brighter moments (when the heroine wasn't bemoaning her lost husband and the hero forgot about not having a leg), but overall it was quite a disappointment.