Author: Jen Frederick
Series: Woodlands #3
Genre: contemporary New Adult romance
Release Date: January 20, 2014
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Gray Phillips is at a crossroads in his life: stay in the Marine Corps or get out and learn to be a civilian? He’s got forty-five days of leave to make up his mind but the people in his life aren’t making the decision any easier. His dad wants him to get out; his grandfather wants him to stay in. And his growing feelings for Sam Anderson are wreaking havoc with his heart…and his mind. He believes relationships get ruined when a Marine goes on deployment. So now he’s got an even harder decision to make: take a chance on Sam or leave love behind and give his all to the Marines.
Twenty-two year old Samantha Anderson lost her husband to an IED in Afghanistan just two months after their vows. Two years later, Sam is full of regrets—that she didn’t move with her husband to Alaska; that she allowed her friends to drift away; that she hasn’t taken many chances in life. Now, she’s met Gray and taking a risk on this Marine could be her one opportunity to feel alive and in love again. But how can she risk her heart on another military man who could share the same tragic fate as her husband?
One of the best things about reading and reviewing is when I find a new series that gets even better as it goes on. Jen Frederick’s Woodlands series is a very recent discovery for me, but if what I’ve read so far is any indication, it’s one I’ll be enjoying for quite some time to come. Both UNDECLARED and UNSPOKEN are great reads, but the latest book, UNRAVELED, is easily the best of the three. It tells the story of how a woman still mourning her dead husband two years after his death is brought back to the land of the living by a man who finds her love is worth taking every chance in the world.
Samantha was never a particularly adventurous person before Will died. But his death only made her hide even more, existing more than living, and the way everyone still treated her like his grieving widow just made everything worse. It’s only when a perfect stranger instantly awakens her comatose desire that Samantha realizes what she really wants, and decides to go after it…and him.
Gray can’t decide if he wants to stay in the Marine Corps now that his contract is nearly up. He’s a natural leader and the Corps has been loyal to him in a way he never had with Carrie, the woman he’d once planned to marry. But when Samantha comes into his life, Gray thinks he has to choose between her and reenlistment because he’s convinced no relationship could ever survive any length of time apart. In UNRAVELED, both Gray and Samantha learn just how much they are capable of doing for each other when love is on the line.
We get to see the whole Woodlands group from the other books in UNRAVELED and it’s great to see how their relationships have progressed. But what I loved the most about this particular book was how both its hero and heroine had their own emotional baggage to deal with, but neither one ever lost sight of how much they cared for the other person. Samantha had to learn to love another person who could die and leave her like Will did. Gray had to learn to love another person who might cheat on him like Carrie did. But they both knew they had these issues and kept trying not to let it affect what they had together now. There were setbacks, of course, including one gigantic screw-up that nearly ruined everything. But Gray and Samantha never truly gave up on each other despite all the obstacles in their path, and that made their HEA all the sweeter. 5 stars