Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Format: Paperback - 300 pages
Kindle - 1022 KB
Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Literary Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Gooseberry Island
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?
Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.
My Book Review:
Every once in a while a novel comes along that is so powerfully compelling and thought provoking that it will pull at the heartstrings and stir the soul, for me, that novel is author Steven Manchester's Gooseberry Island.
David McClain is an Army Ranger, who is deploying for his first twelve month combat tour of duty in Afghanistan. Before he leaves his home on Gooseberry Island, he hoped that he might meet a special someone who he could write to and look forward to coming home to while on tour. All he wants is to find the right woman, the girl of his dreams, his soul mate.
Lindsey Wood knows first hand the horrors of PTSD. Her father Denis is a decorated Operation Desert Storm veteran, who is struggling with nightmares from his tour in Iraq. Lindsey is his caretaker, but his bouts with his inner demons and alcohol abuse often leads to Lindsey being on the receiving end of her father's violent fits. He has struggled so much that he lives in a constant state of emotional catastrophe, and has even committed himself to the local VA Hospital for treatment on numerous occasions, but nothing seems to help him and he doesn't know how much more he can take.
Lindsey and David meet on the beach the afternoon before he ships out, when Lindsey's dog trips David while running. There is an instant connection between Lindsey and David, and he asks her to go with him to his going away party. They spend the whole night on the beach sitting on a park bench talking until the sunrise. They vow to stay in touch with each other while David is away for the next year, and meet up at the same park bench on the beach when he comes home. But no one can imagine the changes that would occur in their lives, and the traumatic toll it would take from being away from each other for a year.
Author Steven Manchester weaves a powerful, compelling, and emotional tale that easily draws the reader into Lindsey and David's story. Told in an alternating third person narrative, the reader follows Lindsey and David as they try to maintain a long-distance relationship while he serves a twelve month tour in Afghanistan. The reader follows Lindsey as she goes about her life at home, as she tries to help her father cope as he struggles with PTSD, while dreaming of a future with David when he comes home from his tour of duty. The reader also follows David as his tour in the Kabul Province of Afghanistan with the Fourth Ranger Battalion will change his life forever, as he too struggles internally with the traumatic combat experiences that he endured. David's internal struggles follow him home from his tour, and it will take a powerful beacon of light to guide him back home.
Gooseberry Island is a heart wrenching but inspirational story that will pull at your emotional heartstrings. Author Steven Manchester weaves a richly vivid and chilling description of David's tour of duty in Afghanistan, and brings to light the invisible scars that many of our returning service men and women bring with them when they return home. The author provides the reader with a thought provoking tale that raises the awareness of the effects that PTSD can have upon our military. Just because our service men and women come home in one piece, doesn't always mean that the war is over, for many the internal struggles have only just begun, and for some the struggle is too much get past. According to the author's letter to the reader, he calls upon his own personal experience of serving in Operation Desert Storm to weave a story that details the brutal experience of combat service, and the struggle our military veterans encounter when they return home, and the emotional helplessness it causes their loved ones. This is a story that was twenty years in making, one that was written as a wonderful tribute to our nation's military service people and their loved ones. This is a story that will resonate with you for a very long time.
RATING: 5 STARS
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