Book Review: Bea Reviews – Until There Was You by Jessica Scott
Book Blurb: He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .
A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.
Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye.
He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.
And now, Bea:
This book cost me a night’s sleep. I kept trying to put it down and go to bed and every time it called my name and wouldn’t let me go. I was up until 3AM reading it. I started it one night, got to about 25% and went to bed, but the next night…oh, the next night. It was totally worth it.
Claire and Evan are two very likable people, though I empathized more with Claire. Evan’s rigidity was off-putting at times, not only for me but for Claire too. But as we get to know him better, and see beneath the surface, we understand why he is the way he is and we see that he is willing to step outside the lines, when convinced that it’s merited.
Evan and Claire are scarred, both emotionally and physically. Events from their pasts have affected them; neither one has been in a serious relationship until they hook up about halfway through the story. While they have been interested in each other for years, they’ve also worked together both abroad in Iraq and back home in the US. Unfortunately, they usually clash when they work together. Evan is a career officer and believes in following the rules and orders while Claire started out enlisted before going to Officer Candidate School and becoming a captain; she’s more inclined to question things and take shortcuts.
“How can you be an officer and be that emotionally attached to everything you do?” “Because at least I give a shit about what I do. I may be loud and I may speak my mind, but no one will ever say I don’t care.” She took a single step backswards, crossing her arms over her chest. “How can you call yourself a leader when you don’t care about anything but doing what the commander wants? Those are people, not a means to an end, Evan. You get the right people in the job and the rest will take care of itself.” “That’s part of your problem, Claire. You might be good, but you’re not good enough to succeed on talent alone. You’re reckless. And you don’t believe in the rules. But they exist for a reason.”
This difference in approach, and the resulting consequences, is a major source of conflict. Another major source is the drinking problem of an enlisted man, Reza, who is a friend of Claire’s. As they work together on their current mission, and deal with Reza’s drinking, they get past the barriers they’ve put up, and become closer physically and emotionally. Their relationship proceeds in fits and starts as they struggle with their feelings and their work.
Scott grabbed me from the start and never let go. While some things were predictable, it didn’t matter because I had to see what happened next. Scott weaves in details about the Army life and respectfully shows military life both stateside and during military engagements. It was a pleasure to read a military based story that was actually accurate yet not full of propaganda or cynicism. Scott’s characters are nuanced, realistic and a pleasure to spend time with. I also cared about the secondary characters and I want to know what happens with Reza, Sarah and Engle.
About Bea: I’m Bea and I love to read. I will read any time, anywhere, almost anything ie laundry detergent bottle, lost newspaper, whatever is at hand. I enjoy fantasy of most varieties, some sci fi, romances, mysteries, childrens, YA, the occasional craft book, anything to do with early childhood and development, and early childhood education. When I’m not reading, I play with my cat, make soaps, try to breathe, and teach pre-school. I’m also a copy editor at Astraea Press.
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