|Suzanne Brockmann: The Unsung Hero|
Publishing Group (Paperback),
The basic story line, like a recurring melody, presents a combination of familiar elements. A Navy Seal (Tom Paoletti) recovering from severe head trauma returns home and finds himself facing an international killer bent on wrecking havoc in the Seal's hometown. While fighting to save civilization, Tom finds love eternal with the girl next door. Muscular, military warrior Tom and the beautiful, intelligent and talented Kelly Ashton (a doctor, no less) provide the predominant love interest and a few (kinda ho-hum) sex-scenes.
Thank goodness Brockmann adds two more generations of heroes who color outside the lines and fight stereotypes. These well-developed personalities grabbed my attention, providing the momentum to get past a rather weak middle, and spicing up the novel's finale. Uncle Joe Paoletti and Uncle Joe's friend, Charles Ashton (Kelly's dad), give us heroism and haunted memories from World War II.
The two elderly men spent their youth and innocence assisting the French Resistance in the fight against the Germans. Their memories shape their lives and haunt them more than half a century later. During the war, both soldiers fell in love with the same woman, a resistance fighter. Neither could have her. This rich secondary story of love lost and battles fought provides a mellow, nostalgic tone, enhancing the principal romance.
The third generation, and yet another story line, consists of Tom's pierced and tattooed niece, Mallory, and her first love. Brockmann shows us a hard-edged teenager who not only survives a broken home, but switches roles between parent and child with her alcoholic mother. The author shows readers that the old adage, "you can't judge a book by its cover" also applies to teenagers' outward appearance.
Brockmann writes of teenagers possessing heart, morals and common sense rather than sullen, do-nothing, trouble making tendencies. Mallory's metamorphosis provides a refreshing tenor to this heroic, yet familiar romantic medley.
The expertly drawn relationships and multiple storylines create suspenseful and satisfying conflict. Of course, you can count on a happily-ever-after for at least one couple, not to mention numerous love scenes. But this reader found the relationships more compelling than the predictable passionate encounters. The mixture of present day and historic heroes, rather than the romance, makes this book a welcome addition to any must-read list.
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