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Review: Because of You by Jessica Scott

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Because of You

Author: Jessica Scott 
Release Date: Nov. 14, 2011
Publisher: Random House: Loveswept
Coming Home Series #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): e-book
Book Source: Author

About the book:
Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again- until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.  Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels – for the first time in a long time – like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty -it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected – her deepest desire.
What Nimas talking about:
Because of You is the first book of Jessica Scott’s Coming Home series.  It has an intensity that’s a little unexpected in a romance.  It is not a fluffy, poolside read.  Scott is a career soldier, a company commander in charge of 130 soldiers, and mother of two kids, whose husband is currently serving in Iraq.  Scott’s descriptions of war and life back home for those who wait are completely authentic. There’s no question that she understands her subject matter.
Main character Shane Garrison, Sergeant First Class is severely injured while deployed in Iraq.  He shows a range of emotion while coming to terms the limitations of his recovery and therapy.  After the dissolution of his marriage, his entire identity was consumed by his role as Sergeant.  His men were his family.  To be state-side and out of commission while most of his men continued to fight, was to be alone in the worst way.  I liked the way he showed his emotions to nurse Jen St. James, the other main character and Shane’s love interest, in spite of himself.  
Jen too, I liked as an individual.  As a breast cancer survivor, something no often seen in the romance genre, she knows what it is be at your lowest and physically unable to do the things your spirit is telling you to get up and get done.  Nevertheless, I was extremely frustrated with her character.  She was a classic case of, “do what I say and not what I do.”  Over and over she told Shane to open up and talk about things.  She encouraged him from her own experience to stop blaming himself for getting sidelined and having to leave his men, yet she kept her own feelings bottled up.  For nearly the entire book she keeps her mastectomy a secret from Shane.  When he does eventually find out about it, she never lets him see the scar—even though she was very deliberate in her choice not to have reconstructive surgery.  These two must depend on each other to heal, but it is like pulling teeth to get their strong-willed personalities to capitulate.  I felt like I was having my own teeth pulled while these two individuals experienced extreme personal growth.  
Together, however, I never felt the heat of their connection.  Even though they were well suited for each other as characters, the chemistry was lacking for me.  Just not enough passion.  I really wanted to like this book more than I did.  It felt forced, even slightly cliché as the patient fell for his nurse.
Scott does extremely well with the supporting characters. Vic Carponti serves as badly needed comic relief from the oppressiveness of war and its realities.  But even his antics are clearly a defense mechanism to hide from the pain he too was experiencing.  Several questions with the supporting cast were left unanswered at the end of the story despite the epilogue which focused only on Shane and Jen.  A quick perusal of Scott’s blog told me that Until There was You is being released October 8, 2012.  It will be the story of Evan and Claire, two characters we only get to know near the end of Because of You.  Amazon has Back to You, the third installment and story of Trent and Laura scheduled for release sometime in 2013.  It is available for pre-order now.
Nimas Rating:
Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)
Purchase Info:
Because of You
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