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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Summer to Remember (Tallgrass #6) by Marilyn Pappano

A Review by Wendy
3.5 When Do You Tell Stars
* * *1/2

That is the question in any relationship... when do you share the deepest, darkest secrets you hold close to the chest... the ones you truly believe will send the other person in this budding relationship running...

We all carry secrets or things which may reflect poorly on past decisions...Did you play fast and loose with credit cards when you first got them and now your credit is shot to shit....Did you make some poor choices in past relationships and now any type of commitment sends chills down your spine....

Or in this story, when do you tell a man you met by chance on one of your good days, you have a mysterious disease that even all the doctors you have gone to still don't know what it is....

When do tell someone that...

Fia Thomas hasn't felt good in quite sometime. She has been battling symptoms of something no one has been able to figure out. She has these spells which cause all sorts of issues and they have changed her life. Before she was physical fit and a sought after trainer at the gym she worked in. Now the company is allowing her to work from home doing their adm work for she never knows when she will be hit by crippling pain.

However, she has dealt with worse and considers herself a warrior. Yes, she survived a childhood which would have crushed the spirit of most and experienced the death of the love of her life when he was killed in combat. She was putting herself back together with the help of a group of army women who had gone through the same losses. She was finding who this Fia was without her Scott when all of her physicality started to change.

Elliot Ross is a man trying to find a place that will feel like home. He has returned from his own service for the country thinking he would go back to the family's ranch in West Texas and settle in like those who came before him. The ranch had been in the family since the 1800's and was handed down through the generations. It wasn't fancy or anything... but did have the sense of home for him and his family. Instead, his parents needed to sell and go on a different path. They had relocated to Arizona. Elliot wasn't mad or angry... just a little disoriented. He understood the reasons and was on his journey to find where he belonged.

We meet him as he pulls his truck into a shopping mall parking lot in Tallgrass, OK. He has picked up a stray dog he has named Mouse and was trying to get her to do her business out in the rain...with no success. The dog is hiding under the truck looking at him as if to say...Are you nuts, I'm not going to get drenched in that you crazy human.... Elliot remembers he has an umbrella in the truck, opens it and Mouse prances out onto the little patch of grass to do her thing....

Elliot is talking out loud about Mouse being such a prima donna and then hears Fi say he should be more worried about talking to himself. Fi was having a surprisingly good day and treated herself to a drive to the drugstore. It was something she hadn't done in so long... something normal. She was feeling strong and here was this Cowboy with this straggly dog... holding an umbrella so that it could do its business. In its own way... kinda revealing about the man.

A careful conversation happens and with an offer to get a drink or something to eat... there is a pause...and then an agreement. Fi follows Elliot to the Sonic to share a late night bite. At the drive- in, Fi gets into his truck and shares a friendly conversation with Elliot and a hamburger with Mouse. Both chat and each has their own internal feelings happen at the same time. Elliot is draw to her, see a bit of sadness when she talks of Scott and how she got to Tallgrass but also sees the strong woman she is, too. Fi is enjoying for the first time in a very long time the feeling of being a woman... one who has a man who sees her for what is in front of him... nothing else. They connect and Elliot gets a promise to cook her dinner. Numbers exchange and with both feeling a little better for the chance meeting.

This is the 6th installment of this series. I came to it late but was able to hang in with all of the references of this community and their past stories. It has this central group of women who have lost their first husbands while in the service. They all were brought to Tallgrass because of the service and stayed. They are a strong support system and the men they have met over the series have become important parts of their lives. From what I learned, each couple had some large hurdle to overcome or move past to get to their happy ever after and this installment is no different.

Elliot is a man who was brought up in a loving family and has a positive outlook in life. He has learned this has brought him more goodness then not. He is someone who has left himself open to the possibility of love. Fi is a woman who is strong, caring but was taught through her horrific upbringing she was a burden. This is the reason she thinks there can never be a relationship with anyone until she knows what exactly is wrong with her....

This story had sweetness and charm. There were secondary stories to keep an interest and you got the sense of community throughout. I could see where this would be a comforting series to read. It addressed real issues Service Spouses experience with care and made the outcomes realistic.

For those who are invested in the series, there are more coming.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

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