There are some debts you can’t repay.
Josh Walker is loyal, reckless, and every girl’s dream. But he only has eyes for December Howard, the girl he’s craved since his high school hockey days. Together they have survived grief, the military, distance, and time as they’ve fought for stolen weekends between his post at Ft. Rucker and her college at Vanderbilt. Now that Josh is a medevac pilot and Ember is headed toward graduation, they’re moving on—and in—together.
Ember never wanted the Army life, but loving Josh means accepting whatever the army dictates—even when that means saying goodbye as Josh heads to Afghanistan, a country that nearly killed him once before and that took her father. But filling their last days together with love, passion, and plans for their future doesn’t temper Ember’s fear, and if there’s one thing she’s learned from her father’s death, it’s that there are some obstacles even love can’t conquer.
Flight school is over.
This is war.
Oh. My. Goodness. Hallowed Ground is such a good book. It’s going to be tough to review without spoilers–so much goes in inside those pages, and I wouldn’t have wanted to know any of it before hand!–but I’ll do my best.
Confession: I’ve only read this book (#4) and the third one (Beyond What is Given) in the series so far. I know, I know! Reading the first two is a definite priority. I’ve got Josh and Ember’s first book (#1 in series, Full Measures) in audio, so there’s actually a good chance I’ll be able to get it read before the semester’s over. Since I know how they’re going to end up (SO MANY FEELS), I’m even more motivated! 😉
So…can you read this book without having read the others? Yes, probably. Will you know all the backstory and really “get” the relationships of all the people and couples? Probably not–some recapping is here, but definitely not of every single detail you should know. Hallowed Ground is a powerful story all on its own, no question, but you’ll get more out of it if you’ve read the other books first.
Hallowed Ground gripped me right from the very first page. Ms. Yarros definitely writes from the heart, and it’s clear that she has experience with what she’s talking about–with the alternating first person narration of the story, you really feel as if you are experiencing everything right along with the characters. They made me laugh. They made me cry. They made me laugh and cry at the same time. Thank heaven for waterproof mascara, because there was actual sobbing today on my lunch break as I neared the end of the book.
Sobbing. At my desk.
So much is going on in this story–Ember’s finishing school, getting ready for graduate studies, and contemplating a summer dig in Turkey (that sounds freaking awesome, BTW. So jealous!) She and Josh have just moved in together, and Paisley and Jagger are in the other half of their duplex. Josh is now a medivac pilot, and just as they start to think that they’ve finally gotten some stability in their lives, bam! Josh finds out he’s (along with Jagger, and Will will be following soon) heading to Afghanistan.
And so it begins…
Admittedly, much of Ember and Josh’s relationship conflict could have been resolved with better communication. However, Ms. Yarros does an excellent job of making me believe that there were times when one or both of them literally couldn’t have that conversation for one reason or another…and that reason wasn’t always because they were in different parts of the globe. They kept going, though, as you do–as you must–and in the end every tear was absolutely worth it.
Some favorite lines:
We planned out wedding, which my end up being the single biggest reason we’d never divorce. Hell if I was ever going to go through this crap again. (Ember)
Next to Josh’s Harley, it [his Ducati] looked like the brother no one in the family wanted to talk about…because he was still in jail, and somehow knocking up nuns. (Ember)
“What you guys have is the real thing, the legendary stuff they write songs about. Just hold on to that.” (Luke, to Ember)
Right, but what kinds of songs? The ones with the happy endings and sappy melodies? Or the morose country ones that ended up with sobbing into a bottle of liquor? (Ember)
Josh vowed to love me forever, cherish me above all, and always come home to me. I vowed to love him for eternity, adore him when he was wrinkled, and to always be waiting for him…unless I was digging up something really old. Then he’d have to do the waiting. (Ember)
I could go on and on…but I’ll let you find your own instead. 😉
And bonus: the title comes from The Gettysburg Address. And the text of that document ends up helping Josh get his head out of his butt toward the end. Seriously, how awesome is that? Just when I thought the book couldn’t get more fantastic….
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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