Author: Gloria Joynt-Lang
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Out of the Darkness
Publisher: Fiery Seas Everlasting
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Dr. Lexie Draden didn’t want to leave her successful career as a surgeon in Chicago, but she didn’t have a choice. Her family needed to heal, and as long as she was around, it wasn’t going to happen. While adapting to her new community, she meets Zak Tifour, a man as intriguing as he is handsome.
Most of the small-town residents view Zak as a man who likes his privacy, but to a select few, something doesn’t seem right. Long-time resident Cicily McQuay believes she has the key to the man’s odd behavior – a link to terrorism. After all, he just isn’t the type of man who belongs in her community. But to belong, you need to be welcomed; something Cicily has never extended to Zak.
Zak knows plenty of terrorists and has even lived amongst them, but not like Cicily suspects. Escaping from a lifetime of bloodshed and regrets, he attempts to distance himself from the quirky townsfolk; people unable to comprehend boundaries. It appears to be working until he encounters the town’s new attractive doctor. Even though his secrets run deep, she ends up trusting him with her heart. But trust is fragile, and when Zak gets drawn back to his old life, Lexie must decide whether he’s a dangerous man or a broken hero.
Note: I was provided a free review copy of this book from the publisher.
My Review: I really liked it. This is a breathtakingly beautiful story that deals with guilt of losing people close to you, and learning how to grieve that loss. One of the main themes in this book is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This story paints a real heartbreaking picture of what it is like to live with PTSD daily, and how PTSD symptoms are often misunderstood by many. We learn about what PTSD is like through Zak, and his many challenges.
The story has great character building. The point of view changes often throughout from Zak to Lexie allowing the reader to get in deep with each one. The author does a fantastic job of introducing the main characters to the readers right away, and in such a way that I connected almost immediately to each of them. After just a few pages in, I was already invested in their lives and in the story, and constantly wondering what Zak’s past is all about, why he left New York, why he is now hiding in this small town called Baxley, living by himself, and keeping everyone at an arm’s length, everyone that is except Lexie. Zak is not perfect, he makes mistakes, he pushes people away, and his true colors are shown a few times, but that is not a fault of his character, he has real struggles, a diagnosis that is a severe anxiety disorder. He often re-experiences through nightmares, that painful event that led to his diagnosis of PTSD, and as a reader your heart breaks for Zak and all he goes through, both in his past, and while living in Baxley.
Lexie, has her own secrets and issues, she too is broken, and that self-loathing comes from guilt over her Niece’s death. Her story too breaks the reader’s heart. But unlike Zak, Lexie is also strong, and independent. When it comes time to either believe in Zak or believe the rumors that the town has formed against Zak, Lexie really comes through as supportive, loving and a true friend. Her dedication to both her job as a Dr, and to Zak is an admirable trait. My favorite part of the book was when Lexie’s past is revealed, the story about how her niece died was so emotional, it brought tears to my eyes. I kept thinking about the choices that Lexie had to make, the choices she did make, and the impacts of those choices, long after I finished the book.
The words in this book are wonderfully written. The story is well paced and believable. None of the events felt rushed, nor did they drag on, it contained the perfect timing in terms of moving the story along, and events unfolding. While the ending was a bit predictable, it also still left me with an extremely satisfied feeling.
I recommend to this book to anyone looking for a wonderfully written contemporary drama, and especially if you are interested in one that deals with Mental and Emotional disorders.
Overall, I thought this was a fantastic, well written book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
About the Author:
Gloria Joynt-Lang was born in Ars-Laquenexy, France and spent her childhood experiencing the vast landscapes of Canada. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a degree in Criminology, she devoted her career to working in the criminal justice system. She now splits her time living in rural Alberta, Canada as well as Southern California with her husband and their two dogs, a Maltese named YaHoo and Yorkie named Smookie Bijoux. Why the Yorkie has a stripper name shall remain a tight guarded secret. A lifelong nerd, she is most comfortable with a book or laptop close by except when she transforms to cool biker chick, hopping on her motorcycle for a speed limit abiding ride to the nearest bookstore.