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Just the Thing (The Donnigans Book 2) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 352 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Clearly and mercifully, this author has actually done some research and she demonstrates respect for our veterans in having done that research. I've read a lot of books for this project and I cannot tell you how many times I've felt that our veterans were not shown the respect they earned when PTSD is handled so superficially.
In this novel, our hero, Gavin, works at learning to live with his PTSD. He knows he will never be cured, he aims at learning to manage his symptoms which range from flashbacks to nightmares. We learn the ways he mismanaged his symptoms, doing himself further harm. At the time we meet him, he is active in therapy and we get to see him with his therapist talking about and practicing meditation, how exercise and nutrition play a role. Gavin is hard at work. Then he meets our heroine, Zoe.
Zoe is dealing with her own issues, the loss of her twin sister in a fatal car accident. She is working on her issues, too. Then she meets Gavin. Having heard about Gavin's past when he drank heavily and did a lot of one night stands, she wants no part of him. But of course, he keeps asking her for a date. Eventually, she says yes with the stipulation that there is no sex.
It was fun to read their relationship develop over the course of a few months. All the while, the author work in details about their separate efforts to learn to cope with their separate issues until they trust each other enough to share their struggles with each other.
Gavin's family was also fun to read about. They pull pranks on each other and compete for the title Prankster of the Year. Even the parents compete. Both Gavin and his older brother, Landon, are retired from the Marines. Somehow Lando was a Major and Gavin only a Master Sergeant, no doubt that is explained in volume one of the series. At one point there is an interesting dynamic when Landon put on the Major and treats Gavin as a subordinate with very positive effects.
Finally, a realistic treatment of PTSD in a novel.
Little does Gavin know that Zoe, too, is suffering from loss. The loss of her twin sister a few short months ago has left a hole in Zoe's heart. But it's also forced her to look a little at her life and realize that maybe she needs to start living more in the moment. She finally decides to take Gavin up on his offer of a date expecting nothing more than a fling. What neither of them expect are the deep feelings that develop between them.
Just the Thing didn't click for me at first. I wasn't immediately hooked, but as the story went on and Gavin and Zoe's story developed as one about different ways we deal with loss I found myself more drawn in. I loved the contrast between Zoe and Gavin's personal tragedies, just showing the different ways that they were each able to deal with and process their losses, and showing that each way was valid for the different people they are. Yet their losses were still things that gave them a common connection and understanding between each other.
Of course, Just the Thing is a romance, and we wouldn't have a romance without some sexytimes which the story has in plenty. Zoe and Gavin's chemistry jumps off the page, and balances out the more serious tone quite well, without overshadowing the main message of the story.
And of course I liked the connection this series makes with Harte's other series The McCauley Brothers and Body Shop Bad Boys. You don't necessarily have to have read the other series to enjoy this one, but it definitely enhances the read.
The end of the book gives a good glimpse at where the series is going next. Unsurprisingly, sister Hope will be the next Donnigan to find her happily-ever-after.
Most recent customer reviews
This book has a lot going on both with the current and backstory.Read more