Go to Homepage   Candice Poarch: Courage Under Fire


Crescent Blues Book ViewsBET Books (Paperback), ISBN 1-58314-350-5

The tragic September 11 attack on the Pentagon brings nurse Arlene Taft and Neal Allen together again. When they met growing up in Texas, she thought him a spoiled, arrogant Army brat, while he found himself smitten with her. Immediately after the attack, Neal ran into the building to rescue others, which put him in the hospital where Arlene cared for him. They found themselves falling for each other again, but did nothing about it (save for one sizzling kiss), eventually going their separate ways after Neal recovered enough to leave the hospital.

Book: candice poarch, courage under fire

Reassigned to Germany, they bump into each other a year and a half later. They begin dating, and Arlene finds herself drawn to Neal's 10-year-old niece, April, whose parents died in an accident. Passion sizzles between Arlene and Neal, but everything comes to an abrupt halt after Neal makes a confession -- Arlene's late husband, Ronald, fathered April with Neal's sister, Bridget.

Arlene knew Ronald stepped out on her, knew he died alongside another woman, but she knew nothing of April. Indeed, the truth cut deeply because Arlene wanted children while Ronald believed they would interfere with their lives. On Neal's part, he believed Arlene knew about April, but Ronald told many lies before his death. Neal and Arlene slowly try to put their relationship back together (with a lot of nudging from April), but to Arlene the pain seems too great to get past sometimes.

Candice Poarch gives a nice glimpse into military life and writes a good plot. Unfortunately, this book felt more like a first or second draft of a novel instead of a finished product. There seems to be little character development and even less description. The story arrives in chunks -- first this happens, then this happens, then that -- with little to tie the chunks together. That also reflects in the relationship between the two characters. There seems to be very little internal development. They meet, they go on a couple of dates and a roll in the hay, then poof, sudden love between them. It just feels incomplete. This book needs a bit more polish to be a really excellent story.

Jen Foote

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