Tuesday, February 17, 2015

REVIEW: Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester


Title: Gooseberry Island

Author:  Steven Manchester (author website)

Publisher: Story Plant, The; Reprint edition (January 6, 2015)

Pages: 300 pages

Source: From Author

About the Book: (from Goodreads.com)

They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?

Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.

My Review: Gooseberry Island is set on Gooseberry Island and in Afghanistan.  The authors description of  Gooseberry Island is so relaxed and small town, a great place for a vacation.  The authors description of Afghanistan is very emotional, detailed and stressful.  I think he conveys the feel of both of the environments very well.  They are as different as night and day.

David is an Army  Ranger and getting ready to leave for Afghanistan when he meets Lindsey just before his going away party.  A romance is sparked, which sustains David through his time in Afghanistan.  In the beginning both characters are very relatable.  David and Lindsey keep up a long distance relationship.  While David witnesses the horrors and loss of war. 

The real meat of the story takes place in Afghanistan.  You realize very quickly that war changes people and the price of war.  There is a price for war for the soldiers as well as the family left at home.  I got very swept up in the authors detailed description in regards to David’s time in Afghanistan.   The scene that stayed with me was of David on the rooftop in Afghanistan.  As a reader I felt the tense emotions of the scene and felt like I was on the rooftop with David.

Being a social worker, I was most interested in the authors portrayal of David’s journey through PTSD when returning from his time in Afghanistan.  So many times our soldiers are not treated for those invisible wounds.  As David did, many soldiers self medicate to get through life.  David had a very hard time adjusting upon his return.  Here is where Lindsey became un-relatable to me.  Her reaction to David after they see each other the first time when David returns really disturbed me. 

My Rating: 4 – The emotions of Gooseberry Island will stay with you long after you read the last page.  Gooseberry  Island gives the reader insight into the lives of returned serviceman and struggles they face each day.  Steven Manchester is a new author for me.  Steven has a way with capturing emotions.   I am not a fan of romances, but Gooseberry Island is so much more than a romance.  I definitely will be checking out a few more books by Steven Manchester.

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Gooseberry Island was also reviewed on the following blogs: Turner’s Antics, Advicesbooks, My Book Retreat and Read, Run, Ramble.

Happy Reading!

Jen C

**Disclosure – Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester  was received from the author in exchange for a fair review.

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