The Way Back Home by Carmen Jenner

Author:  Carmen Jenner
Release date: May 30,2017
Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A story about two broken souls learning to love and accepting their pasts, The Way Back Home is about August, a former marine, and Olivia, a psychologist, I think.  Her occupation is never really directly stated, but I do know that she has an organization that pairs dogs with veterans who has PTSD.  Looking to open a location in this small but rude town, Olivia connects with a couple who has a son that suffers from PTSD and has lost his leg to an IED.  When she arrives to this town, everything that can go wrong does go wrong and to top it all off, the lovely couple whose bed & breakfast she was supposed to stay has died.  She comes face to face with their less than hospitable son and adorable 4-year old daughter.  The story takes off from there and this is just the first chapter.

The pacing of this story is fairly slow, but a lot happens with August and Olivia.  They have good chemistry and the sexual tension was there and sizzling just under the surface.  There were some moments of intensity and the book kept me engaged.  August has  a dark past with a huge chip on his shoulder.  Not only did he lose his marine dog, his parents, and his leg, he also has to take care of a 4 year old who has just lost her parents at a young age.  My heart ached for August and the author gave him a lot of heart.  Olivia was a funny character, but I did not get that professionalism from her.  She walks behind a former marine who is having a PTSD episode and let's just say that it should have sent her running for the hills, but of course it didn't.   Though the sexual chemistry was ever so present, the way the author writes the scene takes away the entire feeling of the scene.  Spoiler alert.!!!!!!  They do it on a table with children right outside of the window in the backyard and could walk in at any minute.  I know it's hot to have a hot and heavy quickie sometimes to get rid of the frustration, but they never actually use a bed or protection.  You knew the guy for a couple of weeks and you use no protection?

While reading this story, I couldn't help but notice the lack of American English that was used.  I was reading and came across some lingo that I did not even understand.  I took it upon myself to look at the author's bio and find out that she is actually from Australia.  That makes perfect sense.!!  There are African American stereotypes and that really turned me off.  This story takes place in a small town in the south, Alabama to be exact, and this town is dominantly white with one black family as far as I could see.  The black family in question consists of the town sheriff, who is sassy and does not exactly does her job right, a troubled teenager with a troubled father who beats him, a big brother who is in jail for dealing drugs and statutory rape.  The troubled teen clings to Olivia like horns on a bull and she describes him as "black as midnight". Really? There are no other ways to describe an African American character.?  Do You see what we are working with here?  I am assuming that she did this to give this story depth and to make Olivia seem like a character with a big heart, but it did not sit well me.

Other than the couple of flaws, I enjoyed the story and its characters. Despite the stereotypes  in this story,  I did like the relationship that was developed between Olivia and Josiah.  The epilogue could have been better and maybe telling the reader how long it has been to kind of give me a better idea of their relationship.  Four stars and I do recommend this read.  Just ignore the stereotypes from someone who doesn't even live in America.  Just saying.


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