Title: Loving You is Easy
Author: Wendy S. Marcus
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Military, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
She’s a survivor of the front lines of politics. He’s a wounded soldier returning home from the battlefield. Can they place their trust in the power of love?
Nobody plays the role of perfect politician’s daughter better than quiet, respectable math teacher Brooke Ellstein. But she won’t be caught swimming with the sharks again, not after the son of a wealthy donor sinks his teeth into her and gets away with it. Still, political connections have their perks, such as heading up the governor’s “Support Our Troops” pen-pal initiative—and getting first dibs on the smoking-hot sergeant whose picture shakes her right down to her goody-two-shoes.
Returning wounded soldier stories are always a wild ride for me. The highs of those battlefield victories are quickly countered/obliterated by the lows of returning home feeling...lesser than when they'd left. The physical disabilities coupled with horrific memories makes the soldier appear unstable. They aren't. They're just trying to adjust to civilian life with what is their "new normal", as Shane so nicely put it.
Brooke wore the girl-next-door facade very well. Too well, it initially seemed. I kept waiting for the mask to come off, for a bitter, spiteful, selfish woman to appear. It didn't because it wasn't a facade. That sweet, trusting, innocence she projected was genuine, and I found it hard not to like someone who was as open and honest as she was. The accusations she faced at the beginning of the story made me numb; the reactions from people in the community left me breathless. It was amazing how quickly people turned against her.
Was she hurting? Absolutely, but she had an amazing support team behind her the whole way. Her family by choice, not her family by relation, stood by her, protected her, and kept her up to date on the investigation after she left her home. Nate and Neve were stellar examples of how family by choice steps up to fill those spaces family by relation should be standing in.
Shane was another matter. The soldier who'd seen too much death and gore returned home a different man. Disabled and feeling like less than a man because of it, he was a frustrating character to like. But I understood why. She thought of him, took his injuries and disabilities into account, tried to help him with small things like untying his shoes, but all he read into those actions was how inadequate he was for her. He was incredibly negative throughout most of this story, and he wore those dark moments well. Unfiltered, uncouth, uncivilized. He lashed out without thinking, doing his best in those moments of "weakness" to drive her away.
Did she leave? No. *smiles* And I was so damn proud of Brooke each time she stood her ground instead of running off.
I love how Brooke and Shane eventually faced their pasts, together. Did you get that? With Shane, it took Brooke leaving for him to see how her actions didn't emasculate him, but showed how much she loved and cared for him. She willingly put herself in danger to protect him, not because she didn't think he could do but because she knew he didn't, and shouldn't, have to do it alone. Brooke's shining moment was more toward the end of the story, when she told her parents the truth of the night she was raped. The conversation and reactions that followed were intense and heartbreaking, but so worth reading. If Brooke hadn't proved already how strong she really was, those moments with her parents certainly did.
Ms. Marcus did a wonderful job telling Shane and Brooke's story with well thought out characters, a constantly moving storyline, and tons of emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed their romance and hope to read Neve's next.
Wendy S. Marcus is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. A nurse by trade, Wendy holds a Master of Science in Health Care Administration, a degree that does her absolutely no good as she now spends her days, nights, and weekends mucking around in her characters’ lives creating conflict, emotion, and, of course, a happily ever after. Wendy lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her dog Buddy, and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting/facebooking with her online friends.