Jennifer Reviews: Soldier On by Sydney Logan
Losing her father in Desert Storm has left Stephanie James with a bitter soul when it comes to the military. As a college senior juggling a full course load, Steph’s only goal is to graduate with honors at the end of the semester. She’s focused, determined, and a firm believer in all work and no play. Then she meets Brandon Walker at a New Year’s Eve costume party. Despite his disguise, Steph finds herself attracted to the camouflaged soldier who curls her toes with a scorching midnight kiss.
Brandon is an engineering major and ROTC student from the hills of Kentucky. Growing up as the son of a major general has given Brandon firsthand knowledge of the struggles military families sometimes face. Now that his father’s memory is fading, Brandon is even more determined to make his dad proud and graduate as an officer in the United States Army. Then he meets Stephanie, and suddenly, his focus is less on his military service and more on the pretty brunette who has stolen his heart. When he becomes aware of Steph’s resentment toward the military, he worries their relationship is doomed.
When faced with the realization that she’s fallen in love with a soldier, can Steph’s wounds from the past be healed with love in her present . . . and in her future?
During the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to familiarize myself with Sydney Logan’s novels. I first read one of her books last summer, and since then I’ve found myself drawn to her stories again and again.
Soldier On is the fourth book I’ve read by Sydney, and it is my favorite to date. My husband asked about the book and Sydney’s style of writing as I was preparing to draft this review, and it didn’t take me long to use the adjectives “sweet” and “wholesome” to describe this romance, although there is much more to Sydney’s writing than that.
Sydney resides in East Tennessee and usually sets her stories in small town settings. Having spoken with her recently, I know it’s important to her that the rural communities in her stories are populated by “good-hearted, friendly people who are educated, well-read, and truly love living in the country.” As someone with roots in a rural community myself, I truly appreciate Sydney’s depictions of small town life, but there are many themes and situations which can be universally understood and enjoyed no matter where you call home.
At the beginning of Soldier On, college student Stephanie James reluctantly finds herself at a New Year’s Eve frat house costume party. She’s a serious student, focused on achieving her academic dreams, and uninterested in her university’s social scene. Seeking solace and peace, Stephanie wanders off to find a quiet corner to hide away in.
“Bravely, I try a few of the rooms, but all are locked except for a set of open double doors at the end of the hallway.
Curious, I step inside, and I’m instantly mesmerized.
Frat houses have libraries?
This one does, complete with ceiling-high bookshelves. Laptops line one wall, and a giant multimedia screen is attached to the other. While all of it is impressive, nothing excites my book-loving heart more than to see the library ladder.
Secretly, I’ve always wanted to climb one – the tall ladders that roll from one end of the shelves to the other. Ironically enough, library ladders always remind me of Beauty and the Beast. Or the love scene in Atonement.
One of those movies is G-rated. The other most definitely is not.”
And (as tends to happen in great romance novels) Stephanie is soon joined in the library by a handsome stranger dressed as a soldier. They speak ever so briefly, an instant attraction brewing between them as the New Year quickly approaches…
“Before I can ask why he noticed me, shouts erupt from downstairs.
“Ten, nine, eight…”
“Do you have someone to kiss at midnight?” he asks.
I simply shake my head. He steps closer, pinning me between his body and the bookshelf.
“You do now.”
Horns blare below, but I barely notice because in the next second, his mouth covers mine. His lips are featherlight and sweet, causing warmth to spread through my veins and settle itself in my heart. I sigh, causing my lips to part slightly, allowing him to deepen the kiss.”
As the story progresses and Stephanie and her new friend, Brandon, get to know one another, both find that their careful planning for the future never took falling in love with someone into account. Brandon is as serious about his future as Stephanie, but he becomes concerned when he realizes their individual aspirations and beliefs strongly contradict one another.
Soldier On is a carefully crafted love story, featuring two fully-developed lead characters who deeply care about one another, but who are also challenged by their family circumstances and the unstoppable onset of adulthood. Stephanie and Brandon are faced with important decisions that could not only alter their individual plans but could also challenge their long-held perceptions of their place within their families.
Sydney Logan manages to handle this fragile love story with a wonderful mixture of warmth, humor, consideration and passion. On it’s first day of release, Soldier On became an Amazon best seller, and within a few days was featured in USA Today as one of this week’s new romance release highlights. So, clearly I’m not alone in my high opinion of this story.
Whether you’ve read one of Sydney Logan’s novels or not, I highly recommend that you pick up Soldier On. It’s a great summer read and enthusiastically earns four stars from me!
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/B00L3KTFLQ
Sydney Logan’s Website: http://www.sydneylogan.com/