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    All about friendship, community and love

    Warning: If you are looking for a lighthearted and fun romance, this is not the book for you. However, if having your heart squeezed just a little bit as you experience a bundle of heavy emotions is something you're up for, then by all means read this book. Captain Calvin Sweet never thought that he would return to Tallgrass, at least not alive, but he's back where the memories of a happy childhood and childhood friendships haunt him on every corner and where the regrets of those lost friendships as well as demons from the war front threaten to pull him under. But Tallgrass has something else: the woman he's loved most of his life and whom he didn't ever expect to have a chance with. Benita Ford grew up in Tallgrass with her two best friends, a trio whose bond seemed unbreakable, until both went away to war and things changed. A marriage to one of them, a gradual drifting apart, death, the loss of that tight bond and all that's left is questions and regrets from the two living friends. What can Bennie expect now that Calvin is back home? The synopsis of this book does not really do the story justice because it's way more than a story of former best friends salvaging their friendship and finding that they want more from each other than friendship. It's about choices and regrets, loss, grief and healing, family and bonds of friendships but above all, it puts a face on PTSD in a whole new way. Previous stories in the series have mentioned soldiers that lost a limb and most times, that's the picture in everyone's mind when thinking about PTSD and war veterans, but what about the warriors who seem whole on the outside but are just as damaged on the inside? Very few really understand them and can empathize with the hopelessness and despair that can pile up and lead to live-changing decisions such as Calvin made or the guilt and shame that come with such decisions. Thankfully, Calvin has a support system to fall back on in the form of his family and community and even his estranged friend, and a new lease on life. Calvin has loved Bennie forever but never expected to have those feelings reciprocated and before he can look forward to a future with her, he must come clean with her about what happened to tear their friendship apart and the struggles he lives with, to give her the chance to decide if she would willingly take them on. Bennie has also lost a lot in her young life too, from her mother's abandonment, to the deaths of her father and husband and has her own support group, The Margarita Club, a group of women who have lost a lot to the war too but have banded together to see each other through their struggles in a heartwarming sisterhood. I have to say that I have a new appreciation for military families and what they go through. On a light note, Bennie was a very lucky woman to have had the love of her best friends, two very different men for different seasons in her life. That said, while it was a lighthearted and enjoyable addition to the story, I found the secondary romance between Lucy and Joe distracting and wish they'd gotten their own book. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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