Shadows of Something Real

Shadows of Something Real - Sophia Kell Hagin This long overdue sequel to [b:Whatever Gods May Be|9470309|Whatever Gods May Be|Sophia Kell Hagin||14355397] is totally worth the wait.

Marine corporal Jamie returns home a hero--escaping and rescuing a Senator from a POW camp. However, she is mentally and physically broken from her horrific ordeal. In addition to the physical scars, she suffers from survivor's guilt, is beset by endless nightmares, and just can't get over a brutal accidental shooting.

The first part of the book is a little hard to read, as Jaime attempts and fails miserably to climb out of the mental rut she's stuck in. But the author's powerfully evocative prose turns what is normally an excruciating read (the PTSD part) into a very raw and moving experience.

I also love the development of Jamie's relationship with the Senator. Their scenes together are few and far between, but are always filled with such emotional depth. Their conversations are some of the most heartfelt and memorable in all of lesfic.

And then of course there is the romance. Whatever Gods May Be lost a star from me because the blurb seemed to imply that Jamie found love in it, which technically she didnt. I had already tempered my expectation for this book, but surprisingly, the romance was amazingly well done. Even more so considering most of this book is about war, the fallout of war and the business of war. (There is a bit of military jargon, some techspeak, James Bond-y gadgets and some political wheeling and dealing, but it doesn't overwhelm the average lesfic reader. On the other hand, they lend authenticity and realism to the book.)

And last, but not the least, is the intrigue. The limited 3rd person pov works wonders for the 'nothing-is-as-it-seems' tone of the book. The events in the first and second book may appear to be random coincidence, but how many times do things need to happen again before it starts to smell like a 'conspiracy'? or is it just Jaime's paranoia on overdrive? Great work!

This book defies pigeonholing. It is at once a character study, a family drama, a romance, a mystery, an action/thriller. And it does all of it equally well.

I highly recommend this book if you want something substantial to sink your teeth into. Definitely not a light and easy read. But, as the Senator tells Jamie, “Risk it, sweetie. That’s what love is about.”