Title: Saving Jake by Sharon Sala
Blessings, Georgia Series Book Three
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Love heals in New York Times bestselling author Sharon Sala’s newest contemporary romance
There is always hope
After eight years in the Marines, Jacob Lorde returns to Blessings, Georgia, with no plans other than to hole up in his empty house and heal what’s left of his soul. But with a charming next door neighbor and a town full of friendly people, keeping to himself is easier said than done.
As long as you can come home
Laurel Payne understands far too well what Jake is going through, after witnessing her late husband experience similar problems. She’s in no hurry to jump into another relationship with a complicated guy, but their attraction is undeniable-and perhaps exactly what both of them need.
Blessings, Georgia Series:
Count Your Blessings (e-novella)
You and Only You (Book 1)
I’ll Stand By You (Book 2)
Saving Jake (Book 3)
With a dash of suspense, Saving Jake by Sharon Sala is a heartwarming novel of love and healing. This third installment in the Blessings, Georgia series can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the previous books as well.
Although it has been two years since her husband Adam took his own life, Laurel Payne recognizes a troubled war veteran when she meets Jacob “Jake” Lorde. Having her heart broken once was more than enough, so she plans to stay as far from her new neighbor as she can. However, her young daughter, Bonnie, is nursing a serious case of hero worship for Jake, so their paths cross on a fairly regular basis. After realizing she has unfairly projected her own issues onto Jake, Laurel is much more open to friendship but will she risk her heart once she begins to fall in love?
Laurel not only lost her husband, but she lost the support of his family in the aftermath of his suicide due to them blaming her for his death. Financially ruined and emotionally decimated after his death, she has managed to pick up the shattered pieces of her life. After meeting Jake, she empathizes with his struggles with PTSD but she vows to keep her distance from him. However, as she spends time with him, Laurel is quick to notice that while he might be haunted by the nightmares of war, he is not consumed by them like her late husband. Once she discovers how steadfast and strong Jake is despite the demons that plague him, Laurel is much more receptive to friendship and, perhaps, love.
Although his physical wounds are healed, Jake continues to be haunted by nightmares and PTSD from the things he experienced during combat. Letting the peace of his hometown settle over him, he slowly begins to reintegrate back into civilian life. Enjoying the quiet and solitude, he does not hesitate to lend a helping hand to Laurel when she needs assistance. Surprised by how much he enjoys both her and Bonnie’s company, Jake is initially a little hesitant to pursue a friendship with his neighbors but he soon cherishes the time they spend together. He is open and honest about wanting to take their friendship to the next level but Jake is uncertain whether or not Laurel will agree to give him a chance given her history.
While the relationship between Jake and Laurel is refreshingly free from angst or unnecessary drama, there is outside conflict that directly affects both of them. A person from Jake’s past is intent on revenge while Laurel is beset by vindictive in-laws. The chapters alternate back and forth between the main storyline with Jake and Laurel and the various characters involved in these secondary story arcs. It would have preferable for Ms. Sala to concentrate more on Jake and Laurel’s developing relationship rather than the suspense elements. These minor story arcs do not add much to the overall plot although they do set the stage for a somewhat dramatic ending.
Saving Jake by Sharon Sala is an emotionally satisfying romance between two people who have been wounded by the effects of war. Through Laurel’s experience with her first husband, readers get an insightful and informative view of the “silent” victims of war. Jake’s struggles with PTSD and nightmares offers an all too realistic look into the devastating consequences of wartime even when a soldier is no longer in combat. The romance between Jake and Laurel is incredibly sweet yet poignant as they help one another heal from the tragic events from their respective pasts.
All in all, an uplifting love story that old and new fans of the Blessings, Georgia series are sure to enjoy.