Thursday, 14 August 2014

Review: Jasinda & Jack Wilder's "Captured."

4 Hearts Review: Jasinda & Jack Wilder's "Captured."

Amazon UK:    http://amzn.to/1oFGt0s
Amazon.com:   http://amzn.to/1oG1ixy

Synopsis:

You go into combat, you fear death. It's what keeps you careful, keeps you alive. I've faced death more times than I can count. I've taken bullets. I've taken lives.

But nothing can prepare me for the soul-crushing terror of being captured. 

***

I married a Marine. I knew the risks. Every time my husband shipped out, I knew there was a chance he wouldn't come back. But Thomas always did. Always. Then one day two officers in full dress uniform knocked on my door and shattered my world. 

How do you keep going when you lose what made life worth living?

Review: Surj Harvey

"Captured" was such an intense, emotionally charged story about loss, grief, forgiveness and healing and it is one that will stay with me for a long time. If you loved "Wounded" and the journey it took you on, then you absolutely won't want to miss out on Reagan and Derek's story. Theirs was a love born from tragedy, each of them a victim, each of them suffering horrific, unimaginable loss as a result of the atrocities of war. It wasn't an easy story to read, the first half leaving me an emotional wreck. 

There are some truths that are too potent to speak of, too damaging to reveal. 
Too guilt free to see the light of day. 

My heart broke, it shattered, it splintered, the tears falling freely as I was transported back to Afghanistan, Jack and Jasinda Wilder doing a sterling job of making me feel like I was right there with the boys on the front line. All of my senses were heightened as I turned each page and it wasn't just being able to visualise the surroundings. It was the fact that I could hear every sound that was made... the noise of the safety catch coming off a gun, the sound of a rifle firing over and over. I could smell the dry, arid air of the desert, the sweat from the soldiers in the humvee. I could feel the sensation of dirt on my skin and I could sense the fear and anticipation as patrols were carried out. 

Anyone who says they aren't scared in combat is a dirty fucking liar. I've been in combat 
more times than I can count, and I'm scared shitless every single goddamn time. 

Derek was a marine and it was here that his story began. It was also here that his life would be forever changed. Derek was sent to Afghanistan to fight a war, a war he would never win. Instead that war made him a prisoner. He was held captive for three years where he was beaten, tortured and mutilated, more often than not starved and left for dead. Three long years and the one thing that kept him going was a promise. A promise he'd made to a comrade ... a promise to deliver a letter with a message:

"She has to know I went out thinking... of her. I held on... wanted... 
I wanted to go home to her. I fought for her. She has to know." 

Even now, thinking back to those scenes, the tears are (yet again) threatening to fall. The emotions, the despair I felt as I read those words ... I can't even begin to comprehend what must have gone through this man head. It was soul destroying, the pain in my heart ever intensifying as details of Derek's time at the hands of the Taliban came to light. I truly felt for him and everything he had been through. 

Pain tells me I'm alive, the letter tells me why I'm holding on

Reagan knew the risks when she married a marine. Each time Tom was sent away on active duty, she knew there was a danger he wouldn't make it back and the last time she'd kissed him goodbye, her gut told her that kiss would be their last. She was right. Crap crappety crap ... tears... fuck I've finished the book ... I cried then so why am I crying now???? Buggery ball sacks!!! I need to quit with the water works!!! Reagan was a woman who made me feel an immense sense of pride. Despite everything that was thrown at her, she just kept going, she had to. There was so other option. She had too much to lose despite having lost so much already. 

I'm lonely. Tired. My heart heavy from long carried grief. Weighted by sorrow. 
Thick with loneliness. Coated in a tough hide of self reliance. 

The connection between Reagan and Derek was a slow building one and considering their situation, this made it all the more believable. I mean they had so much going against them, not least Derek's PTSD which he'd chosen to deal with in his own way (which meant not at all). What formed was realistic and beautiful, full of caution, reluctance and hesitancy as was to be expected. 

My soul aches, swells. Confused, emotionally fraught, full of things I never
thought I'd feel again: wonder, need, desire, passion, tenderness. 
Things I thought had died with Tom. Things my mind keeps telling me did die with Tom. 

However.... and this is where I drop a clanger.... I'm sorry... really sorry but at the 50% mark, it all changed and I was like "What the hell?" Imagine a night of passion lasting 20% of a book. Yup from the half way mark I got sex.... a lot of sex. He came, she came, they came, she came again, he came again!!!! Whaaaattttt???? I think maybe the purpose of this scene was to show a deeper, more emotional connection to what the couple shared. To show the reader that what was going on between the couple went far beyond just a physical attraction but for me, it got lost amongst all the nookie and trust me, there was a lot. 

Until today, it was a dance; an attraction and a mutual emotional need drawing us 
closer and closer, creating chemical reactions in the form of sexual fervor. 
It was all that yet it was clearly more, a subtext I, at least, didn't anticipate being 
woven under the surface of our interaction. And now that we've consummated it, 
our relationship has somehow grown, deepened, expanded, and it scares me. 

From that point, the relationship seemed to move to a whole different level. It went from second gear straight into sixth and it was quick... really quick... the steps they were taking just seemed to fast for the people they were, for what they'd gone through and obstacles that lay in their path. I wanted the brakes put on, I wanted them to slow down. I wanted to savor what they shared but blink and their relationship had moved forward even more. 

It killed me to read the second half of this book, it really did because the first half had been so bloody amazing. I was absolutely gutted. All the visuals, the sensory overload was gone and in it's place was a story that was moving forward at the speed of light and as such my connection to the story line and the characters got lost along the way. I was devastated. 

So my scoring for "Captured." The first half... absolutely 5 Hearts... if I could give it more I would because it was that good but the second half, a three and it really does gut me to say that. So overall,averaging it out, this book got 4 Hearts from me. 

I actually contacted Jasinda Wilder via email after I'd finished reading "Captured" and raised by concerns with her and as she so rightfully pointed out, life isn't perfect, people do make mistakes and people do rush into relationships. Sometimes it works which is great and sometimes it doesn't but that's life. I guess I was looking for perfect in Derek and Reagan's relationship and it isn't necessarily what I got and that's something I have to accept... that's the reality of it. Perfect doesn't exist in real life so why should fiction be any different. 

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