Saturday, March 26, 2016

Till Death Us Do Part - Cristina Slough

Rating: 3 Stars
Published: December 2015
ARC provided via Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Goodreads
Mimi Marcus spends her days in London, working and spending time with family, while she waits for her US Marine husband, Joel Marcus, to come home from deployment. They're each other's whole world and Joel's promised he will be coming home. Except, he's captured and killed and Mimi is left with nothing to connect with his memory. She embarks on a journey to get to know the husband she has lost, starting in Texas with his younger brother, Austin, the sibling he's been estranged from for years. Once there she finds that nothing is as it seems, starting with why the two siblings haven't spoken in years. Underneath the surface, she's found secrets and lies in Joel's past, a man she's starting to think she never really knew. Austin, however, is everything Joel wasn't and when they recognize their attraction for one another, everything changes. Joel is alive however and his return is not one of happiness. With a lifetime of secrets between them, Mimi must choose between brothers, between the lies that tie them all together and the marriage vows she made to Joel.

 Mimi's character was everything I could want from a broken-hearted Military widow and more. The experiences and thoughts she had made the story come to life to me, I felt like I could understand her and connect to her in ways I don't often with other Military novels. The emotions are heavy and I found myself hurting for her, especially once she discovers her husband is not the good man she thought he was. I enjoyed her determination to learn more about her husband, traveling across the country to see the family he had left, even if she'd never met them before. I loved the shock value of Mimi finding out that everything about her husband's past is opposite of what she'd heard. There are some twists that Cristina Slough threw in there that totally messed with my head and I understood how Mimi began to question everything she ever knew. Like Mimi did, in the midst of emotional despair people often turn to others with their feelings, and watching Mimi and Austin fall for each other felt so real. On top of the story, there was so much more to this book about love, honesty, and finding hope when everything seems lost.

The premise of Till Death Us Do Part sucked me in, however the writing kept me constantly considering putting the book down and walking away. With multiple POV's and changing tense, it was incredibly hard to keep the characters and the story line in order. The book changes from past to present tense, and while it's distinct, the characters we see in the past do not feel like the same characters from the present. Especially Joel once returned from deployment, I felt like there should have been some hint in the past of just how off the rail he could be. It also didn't read like a romance, the entire book is emotionally heavy from start to finish, and while there is promise of hope and love, it isn't a light hearted HEA many readers like to reach for. I enjoyed the general book, from start to finish, but there are more twists and surprises than I would generally want in any book.

If you are looking for a suspenful Military romance, Till Death Us Do Part might be just the book for you. While it's emotionally heavy and you won't ever expect what happens, it's a realistic look at a woman suffering a major loss and finding her way through the pain. It's an intricately weaved tale of love, deceit, and honesty. While it may break you in two at times, Cristina Slough's debut shows promise and once you get into the story, you won't want to stop.

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