AMAZON KINDLE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
Named Notable 100 Winner in Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book Awards
Tess Johnson has it all: her handsome photographer husband Beau, a thriving business, and a newly discovered pregnancy. When Beau accepts an overseas photography assignment, Tess decides to wait to reveal her secret—only she’s never given the chance. Beau’s helicopter crashes in the desert.
Tess struggles with the news of Beau’s death and tries to put her life back together. Alone and dealing with a pregnancy that only reminds her of what she has lost, Tess is adrift in a world of failed plans and fallen expectations. When a new client appears offering more than just a new project, Tess must confront the circumstances of her life head on.
Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing honor killings find Beau barely alive in the middle of the desert, his body ravaged by the crash. Suha, a doctor, and Samira, a widow and mother of three young children, nurse him back to health in a makeshift tent. Beau bonds with the women and children, and together, with the help of an underground organization, they continue their dangerous escape.
What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.
Tess and Beau have a wonderful life. They love each other and their marriage is good. Tess owns her own recruiting (headhunting) company and Beau is on the verge of international recognition of his photography, his upcoming trip to Iraq should bring him that. Shortly after Beau leaves Tess discovers she’s pregnant. The pregnancy flies in the face of Beau’s five year plan; they’ve only been married four years.
Within a few days of learning about her pregnancy Tess receives a wee hours visit from Mr. Fulan, the owner of Wartime magazine, Beau’s current employer. The company helicopter has gone down in the Iraqi desert, no survivors. Beau won’t be coming home.
Tess is struggling to come to grips with her pregnancy and the fact that in her heart and soul she believes Beau is still alive. Wouldn’t she know if Beau was truly gone? Why can’t anyone understand that?
Alice, Tess’s assistant, is emotionally distant. She can’t really comprehend Tess’s grief because she’s so detached from her own emotions. In helping Tess she finds herself becoming attached to Kevin, Beau’s best friend, of all people. She’s also discovering her own buried emotions.
Kevin is at a loss as to how to help Tess. He’s caught between his grief, Tess’s, Beau’s parents need for closure, and his growing attraction to Alice.
Then Tess meets Louie, potential client who starts to become something more.
In Iraq Beau has been found by Suha in the desert where he was thrown from the helicopter. Many broken bones, burns, and assorted injuries but he’s alive. Suha is a doctor helping a young mother, Samira, and her three young children flee an honor killing.
Suha mourns the loss of her father and the country she knew. She’s repulsed and saddened by what she sees as the regression and destruction of her land.
Samira was married/sold to a cruel older man. He’s abused Samira from their wedding night. His recent death has freed her but also condemned her. Suha is Samira and her children’s only chance at a life where women aren’t treated as something disposable, to be used and discarded.
While Tess struggles to come to terms with his death, a death she really doesn’t believe has occurred, Beau fights for his life. COME BACK TO ME floats between Tess in Maryland and Iraq where Beau struggles daily to survive and return to Tess.
I was immediately drawn in and connected with the characters, not one or two, but found something in each character I could identify with. There were times I didn’t particularly like Beau, Tess or Alice but I was always right there with them. At the end of this intensely passionate journey the character my heart actually broke for was Louie.
COME BACK TO ME isn’t an easy read. It’s gripping, emotionally charged, thought provoking, and devoid of the traditional HEA. As I reflected on the story and ending I realized that, as far I’m concerned, it stayed true to the story. I would have been disappointed with the trite HEA. If you want fluffy, light, or a pat HEA ending I can’t in good conscience recommend you read COME BACK TO ME. If you prefer strong unpredictable reality based fiction COME BACK TO ME should be right up your alley.
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