Author: SA Laybourn
Reviewed by: JustJen
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN 13: 9781781848265
The wounds of war can run far more than skin deep.
Grace Webb trains racehorses for a living. It’s a career she’s happy to focus on when her fiancé, Christopher Beaumont, is deployed to Afghanistan. At a time when racing yards are losing horses because of the bad economy, a promising horse like Allonby could be the salvation of her father’s yard. Grace welcomes the chance to focus on Allonby in attempt to stop fretting about Christopher’s growing despondency and the frustration of lousy internet connections.
When Christopher comes home with horrific leg wounds and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Grace is determined to help him heal. While she fights Christopher’s nightmares, depression and rage, she also faces a battle to save Allonby’s career before it’s had a chance to blossom.
Christopher, feeling that he’s giving Grace more grief than love, leaves her. Grace couldn’t heal Christopher, but she can help Allonby and keep her father’s yard running. When Christopher returns, seeking forgiveness and a second chance, Grace gives him that chance. This time she won’t let Christopher surrender to his demons. On the eve of the biggest race of Allonby’s career, Grace faces down her worse nightmare—saving Christopher from himself.
Review: It has been a long time since I have really enjoyed a m/f romance. What made me decide to give this one a try? I loved the cover, know the author to be a successful m/m author, love to read about military guys, especially those with disabilities and/or PTSD, and love horses. This has all that and much more.
Grace trains and cares for racehorses as an assistant to her father in his racing stable in England. She needs to be strong and tough to not only work with the horses day in and day out but to do so in an arena that is predominantly male oriented. The story surrounding the horses is very well written and spot-on with wonderful descriptions that anyone who has been around horses will completely recognize, even if they aren’t able to grasp all the lingo.
One of the owners of Grace’s horses is the General, who happens to bring his friend, Chris, out to see the horse on one of his visits. Chris and Grace hit it off, and a budding romance ensues which was quite enjoyable. I loved watching them fall in love which I found totally believable and not at all cheesy. They had great chemistry and made a wonderful couple, eventually becoming engaged.
Then, Chris is deployed for six months. Things go well until he is badly injured and returns home. Believing he is not the man Grace fell in love with, he pushes her away. These two broke my heart many times, and I really felt bad for each of them at different times. Grace remains strong throughout this story, even when she gives in, which she does more than once. I loved that she stayed true to her nature, as it is often the first thing I find fault with when reading m/f romance.
Chris, however, frustrated me quite a bit. He was so strong before his deployment, and did such a 180 upon his return, that I couldn’t help but find fault, even though I chalked most of it up to his trauma. The one thing I missed with this aspect of the story was the depth involved in his recovery. It seemed odd that there wasn’t any kind of therapy for his PTSD issues at any point, when it seemed to be an even bigger issue than his physical recovery. Luckily, after a very bumpy road, Grace manages to help him enough eventually for them to make things work, but I would have liked to have seen more in this area.
All in all, I was thrilled to have enjoyed this as much as I did, and I’ll gladly pick up another by this author in any genre that is written.