The Soldier's Homecoming

by Donna Alward
Deeply and intense emotional read in a short romance. Protection or trust?

Intensely emotional, Donna Alward's The Soldier's Homecoming tells the romance of a man and woman separated by bitterness from circumstances who work together for the sake of their daughter, discovering that something more moving than just duty --- love. Shannyn Smith loved Jonas Kirkpatrick but he left her behind when he went off to serve his country at war. He had made his choices clear, and never looked back. When she discovered she was pregnant, Shannyn knew her daughter Emma had to be her first priority. Whatever the cost to her own heart, protecting Emma came first and still does. When Jonas returns, he is a changed man, a man cold and distant and not like the man she once loved. War has changed this bright young man. When he demands to take up his role as father, can Shannyn trust him with Emma? Will Jonas be able to protect his daughter and be her father? Will Jonas be able to trust those around him enough for a real soldier's homecoming?

There is bitterness between Shannyn and Jonas...and for good reason. Donna Alward does an exceptional job at setting up the situation between the hero/heroine, displaying their inner thoughts and conflict to the reader so that this bitterness is not just about arrogant, mean characters but originates from a need to protect and from the situation in which they find themselves. The daughter Emma is well-written, both as a character and as an axis for the narrative in the action as well as the hearts of the hero and heroine. Stylistically, by making Emma the focus, the reader understands the motivations of the heroine and even the hero, allowing the goodness of her characters to show forth in the midst of their conflict. Both Shannyn and Jonas are sympathetic characters precisely because Donna Alward allows the reader to view them through Emma's needs. With just several precise emotionally satisfying moments, Donna Alward crystallizes both the romance Shannyn feels for Jonas and how Emma herself is the center, drawing her hero and heroine together and expanding their hearts. The Soldier's Homecoming is one of those rare books where the bitterness between the hero and heroine works to create an emotional read while maintaining the reader's empathy and investment in her characters. There are real reasons behind why they feel like they do and indeed should feel that way. Donna Alward makes it arise from the situation and not as some gratuitous conflict and she does not trivialize the issues either to get at the romance. Consequently, when Shannyn and Jonas do find love, the romance has a richness and depth that accompanies the emotional intensity.

Even more satisfying is the look into love that Donna Alward creates through her pairing of this particular hero and heroine. Each has their own reasons to go into protect mode but isn't love about trusting too? Shannyn and Jonas focus on duty towards others, but through putting Emma first, each one grows to understand that love is more than something about duty. As they begin to trust each other again, and indeed themselves as well, Shannyn and Jonas learn that their love can transcend duty. As they face difficult situations, their love becomes more whole, replacing protection with trust. Donna Alward's The Soldier's Homecoming is a real homecoming, and with its depth, a tribute to those who serve!

The Soldier's Homecoming will appeal to those wanting a deeply emotional read versus a light romance. If readers are in the mood for an intense or moving read, The Soldier's Homecoming is a great pick. Don't race through it but see the world of this book through the eyes of the 3 characters as you read, and prepare to be moved. In length, this is a short romance, but in emotion, this is a big book. Style and story work together, turning romantic conflict into a vision of a rich understanding of love.

Buy The Soldier's Homecoming Here

From the back cover:

A hero for his country—home to win her heart!

Jonas Kirkpatrick left town to be a soldier without ever looking back. But Shannyn saw him every day in her little girl's green eyes.…

Six years later, Jonas has come home, changed utterly from the carefree boy Shannyn once knew. Hardened by war, Jonas can't allow himself to open his heart.

Until he discovers what he left behind—the unbreakable bond with a child he never knew existed, and the enduring love of the only woman who can make him whole again.

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