Author: S. Davidson
Publisher: Encompass Ink / Hot Ink Press
Cover Artist: Rue Volley
Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/22/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Bisexual, Contemporary, Gay Romance, Menage/Poly
His war has just begun.
James (Jamie) Massey has been raised in a strict military household and grew up with the sole purpose of becoming a soldier. He never imagined the heartache his choices in love and war would weigh on his soul, and when he loses everything, he can’t imagine ever being happy again.
Chris Baker grew up in a small town, raised on the rodeo circuit. When he met Ben, he thought he’d live blissfully every after, but things have a way of not going along as planned. Chris, devastated by his loss, was barely hanging on.
When Jamie and Chris end up in the same small town diner, it can only be credited to divine intervention. But are both men too damaged? They say God works in mysterious ways. Well, he certainly had his hands full when he chose these two for saving.
Is it too late?
Triggers: Deals with PTSD, death, and realistic wartime violence.
Resurrection, S. Davidson’s debut novel, is told in three distinct parts. The reader meets Jamie and Chris individually as teenagers and watches them grow with the struggles, terrors, and heartaches of adulthood in the first and second parts, respectively. When they meet in the final section of the book, both men are forever changed by what they have endured individually, and they must work together to overcome their personal traumas in order to develop a lasting relationship.
I must say that as a debut novel, Resurrection is quite an accomplishment. It tackles some extremely tough subjects, namely terminal illness, living up to family expectations, the horrors of war, and PTSD. Though I have some issues with it on a more technical level, Chris and Jamie’s stories, both separately and together, are touching and well-portrayed. The first two parts provide background stories for the two men, though they lack a certain amount of emotional detail. The reader is told, rather than given the opportunity to feel what it going on for each of the characters, but the author does a good job of presenting significant information that helps develop an understanding and sympathy for the characters later on in the third portion of the novel.
In Jamie’s individual story, there is a good deal of POV-hopping, and sometimes the plot feels as though it is “skimming” along, jumping from Jamie’s deployments to his moments with Derrick. This creates a feeling of disjointedness as the reader observes snippets of Jamie’s life rather than gaining a connection with his feelings and emotions. The violence of the war is vividly crafted, however, and does an excellent job of presenting the horrors of those experiencing it without it feeling exploitive or overdone. Chris’s story takes a more emotional tone in Part Two, and the reader is given an opportunity to see him grow into adulthood, as with Jamie’s character. His relationship with Ben is quickly developed, and though the plot once again feels like it’s skimming along the water, there is much more of a connection to Chris and Ben than with Jamie and Derrick. Readers should be aware that the some of the sex scenes in these first two parts involve ménage, bisexuality, and underage/older adult activities. I did have a concern with underage Chris’s sexual involvement with a 26-year-old and the fact that it was a non-issue with his parents. Though a small detail, it felt unnecessary to the story and character development and raised a red flag that was an unfortunate distraction.
Chris and Jamie have had some heavy emotional experiences by the time they meet midway through the novel. They have each suffered their own turmoil and continue to fight their ghosts and past trauma every day. The development of their relationship is well done, and Jamie’s flashbacks and PTSD episodes are particularly heartbreaking and powerful. The author does a good job here of creating the atmosphere of a relationship in which volatility and tension are regular occurrences, and the reader is given an opportunity to experience the difficulties of both partners as they struggle to create a loving connection with one another in the midst of horrible turmoil.
Overall, I enjoyed Resurrection. The author has crafted realistic, dramatic situations and sympathetic characters while providing a tender love story. I hope she continues to publish, as I would look forward to reading more of her work.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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