A Soldier's Promise by Aija M. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Soldier's Promise by Aija & Thornne is a military love story that I found delightfully different. Even before I read the story I read the 'Book Dedication' which was heartwarming and sincere (I thank you!) and it had me thinking by this alone that this was going to be a real tear-jerker of a story. I wasn't wrong! I was amazed by just how accurate the feelings and thoughts are in the story. It portrayed military life of those left behind amazingly accurate right down to the change in feelings as time goes by. What I really found amazing is the way this love story is told. It gets to a point where the reader is invited into the characters' most intimate feelings by reading their love letters.
John Dixon was just promoted to Force Captain in the Navy Seals. He is sent on a mission to Puerto Rico where he actually violates his mission's objective by rescuing an obviously severely hurt young woman named Nicole (Nikki) Travorrez. Eventually they marry and have a son but by the time of birth John went on his next mission to Afghanistan. It is through this absence of John that the letters begin back and forth between Nikki and John. The reader learns of their family, fears, milestones young Jonathan makes and their deep love and passion for each other. I really found this a bit different than other love stories in that I am finding out 'the story' through letters. It was extremely effective in having the reader 'feel' the longing, loneliness, fears and all the other emotions that result when two people are apart for so long, one being in dangerous conditions with no 'time' set for returning home. I imagine this was the objective of the authors and I think they have achieved it very well.
I have to admit that I come from a long line of military persons so I have worn many 'hats' so to speak of being the daughter of a military dad, being the sister to military brothers, being a wife of a military husband, being the mother of a military son, and being in the military myself so I can tell you first hand from my real life experience that a lot of the 'feelings' in this book are accurate including the frustration Nikki feels when trying to get information on her husband when her letters went unanswered. People she talked to and even asked John how is Nikki and "the little man" now won't answer her and act as if they don't even know who she is and want proof she is married to John. She knew providing a copy of her marriage license would do no good and she is probably right so I found these situations totally believable.
The main characters, John and Nikki, are developed as the story goes on although the timing of it was interesting. The reader learns about John starting with the beginning of the story. He develops with the story and we learn more and more as time (the story) goes on but I am satisfied I 'know' him. Nikki on the other hand is revealed in bits and pieces, enough at the time to make sense of the story but much more slowly than John. She is like a bit of mystery and I still feel the reader needs to know more about her and her past. Of course this is just the first book and if the authors didn't create some curiosity for the reader then why would they read the second one? I think this is the authors intentions and they certainly did it well.
The ending was a major cliffhanger. I couldn't believe it stopped there because it has me screaming, "What Happens Next?" Now you know I have to read the second book and naturally the authors plan worked. I have to find out what happens. I should also tell you that there is a minor editing error but it doesn't take away from the story (my brain inserted the missing word automatically) also that there are some intense love making so I wouldn't recommend this for children however I would recommend it for everyone else. This is a love story, military style that I think is worth reading.
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