Courage that Counts, Loveland Fire Series Book One, Elison Grace
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Well, I was unsure about this read, a romance book where one of the main characters is dying? A brave move, and I wasn’t sure it would work. I’ve read a handful of ones with death as a major theme over the years and some were excellent and the others a fail for me. Throw in that this is a debut book for Elison and I really didn’t know what to expect.
I found the romance part a bit slow to begin, and of course death is so hard on everyone involved. Roy is happy with his life, loves his job, has some great friends and adores his wife Michelle and their two girls. And then comes the huge bombshell that changes everything. I felt for them, when I was 36 and in a similar position, great job, good friends, loving husband and three teens I also was diagnosed with cancer that was likely to be terminal. It really does change everything, you become a patient, and its easy to lose the person you are. I was luckier than Roy, and 20 years on I’m still here, but poor Roy goes through some traumatic treatments and every-ones life revolves around his disease, the daily hospital visits and the hoping against hope that things will work out. Along the way Lana comes in and she and Dylan soon hit it off. Then of course their romance also becomes part of the tragedy and suffers from the after effects…that was heart breaking but I understood why it happened.
The death and funeral – that was so well written, felt so real I actually had tears – its a good read that can do that. Michelle and the kids were great characters, so realistic. Roy – I so felt for him, empathized and understood his frustration when things looked bad. How he coped when told there was no more to be done I can’t know – as I said I was luckier – and I can’t imagine how anyone faces that kind of thing. Differently for all I guess. I remember feeling for the doc who told me the chemo hadn’t worked and that I need my leg amputated, thinking how hard for them when the have to deliver bad news. For so many staff we do seem to be people they care for and when things don’t go well they get upset too – that came over really well in the book.
I loved the connection between Lana and Dylan, the way she integrated into the family too, and when it all fell apart I so felt for both of them, Lana especially. There simply wasn’t anything she could do, it was something dylan needed to work through and that was really sad seeing them both distressed. the book is told mainly from Dylan’s POV but there are chapters from Lana too so we get an insight into the thoughts of both of the. Its not all doom and gloom either, there are lots of lighter moments, romantic dates, the firemen’s calendar and the fundraising party, all of those served to balance the dark theme.
Overall its a fun read, not a long one but packed with intensity, and some searingly sensual encounters between Lana and Dylan. It’s not quite a five from me but a very well deserved Four.
Stars: Four, a terrific first book. I’m looking forward to Cory and Carrie next, he’s got some great promise!
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers