Monday, 2 December 2013

Review: Kate McCarthy's "Fighting Redemption."

Review: Kate McCathy's "Fighting Redemption."

~4.5 Hearts Review ~

Amazon UK:


Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.

At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.

Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.

This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.


Review: Surj Harvey

This is my first experience of Kate McCarthy's work  and I have to say it definitely won't be my last. This author had me sucked in, my heart ripped out and the tears on full flow before I'd made it through the prologue and it didn't stop there. "Fighting Redemption" was such a deeply emotional story, and despite being written in third person (my absolute pet hate), I was 100% invested in where it was headed. 

Theirs was a love story that spanned years and I wish I could say it was all hearts and flowers but I can't. Instead, Ryan and Fin's journey was marred with so much pain, guilt, sadness and tragedy that by the end of "Fighting Redemption,", my anxiety levels had reached an all new high and my nerves were shredded:

Why did everyone paint love as pretty rainbows and happily ever afters? 
It wasn't any of that. To love was to feel the greatest agony, 
burn in the hottest fires of hell, and fail the only people who ever mattered. 

Each time I thought this couple might have a chance, Kate McCarthy would throw in another curve ball (one usually bigger than the last) and my heart would break just that little bit more. Was it just not meant to be for them? I knew part of it was the deep rooted issues on Ryan's part but some of the misunderstandings and some of the actions from both parties left me reeling. There were moments I found myself so frustrated... all I kept thinking back to was the prologue and that unanswered question that had my gut in knots. I was almost desperate for them to get the HEA. They had to. 

Ryan Kendall was just one of those characters I couldn't help but fall in love with. He was so beautiful, so selfless yet so very broken and I wondered whether he would ever fully move on from the his harrowing childhood. The abuse he suffered at the hands of his father was brutal but it was the Tanners (his 'surrogate' family) that would provide him with the comfort and solace he desperately needed. This family were just amazing and if anything were to restore my faith in man kind, I would say it was it was this unconditional act of kindness for a boy who wasn't even related by blood.  

The friendship between the Tanner children (Jake and Fin) and Ryan was so heart warming and it was a bond that only became stronger as time passed. But it was Ryan's connection to Fin that made both my heart swell and my heart break at the same time:  

He couldn't think of Fin as his. He couldn't feel that way. Ryan had to focus on fighting 
his way out of town. How could he do that if Fin owned his heart? 

Ryan's plan had always been to leave the town that held so many bad memories and join the army but it would be his love for Fin that would ultimately make him question that goal. Unfortunately, Ryan made the ultimate sacrifice, yet again putting others needs before his own.. I felt so much hurt, that sinking feeling remaining firmly rooted:

I grew up and realised that someone as smart as you, with a heart as deep 
and as wide as the ocean, deserved someone who isn't broken to love you, Fin, 
and I don't know if that will ever change. 

I found a real strength in Fin's character. Her heart had always wanted Ryan but when he left to join the army, she knew she couldn't put her life on hold. Instead she carried on as best she could but always with thoughts of the man who had her heart tucked away in the back of her mind. It was when he returned that the cogs started to go around in my head... how long could she resist temptation when said temptation was living under her roof? Well I take my hat of to the girl because this girl had a conscience and so resist is what she did. Part of me was glad (I don't like cheating) but part of me just felt resigned to the fact that luck was not on their side. 

"I have a thick skin, baby...but you're under it. You're buried in there so deep it's like 
I was born with you in my soul. When I'm near you I'm consumed by you--
your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we've never been together, you've always been mine, and even if I never get to keep you, you'll still be mine."

The secondary characters in "Fighting Redemption" were just amazing. Jake was more of a brother than a friend to Ryan and they would always have each others backs. And the boys from the SAS. They truly were a family and the banter they shared was just hilarious. 

The writing in "Fighting Redemption" was truly engaging despite being written in third person, and I still managed to get a book written in dual POV which meant I got a really good hold on the characters  too. 

This book was about loss, regret, redemption, sacrifice, family and ultimately love. It had my emotions in such a tangle but on the most part, I just felt this anxiety that wouldn't go away. There were so many truly heart breaking moments that left me sobbing my heart out but there were also some truly uplifting moments... that also left me sobbing my heart out. Yes I looked a complete mess by the time I'd read the last word so do have a box of tissues at the ready. 

I'll love you longer than the stars in the sky. 

My take home message from this story is: live every day like it's your last. Make the most of every opportunity thrown your way and never live with regret... it'll eat at you!!! 
How would I rate "Fighting Redemption?" It got a solid 4.5 Hearts from me. Definitely worth the read and it's a standalone (my favourite kind of book!!!) 

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