This book was initially written as a novella and published chapter by chapter, but then we the readers kept demanding more about this story of Maggie and Jack, and the author graciously added until it became a full story. This was such a lovely book, not just because it’s a beautiful love story but because of all the layers of social messages it has. Maggie is a journalist, and she travels the world working stories about social injustice. At the moment she met Jack, she was embedded into his platoon in Afghanistan, and she got stuck in a dangerous situation. Jack and his platoon got her out of the mess and then he tore into her for endangering herself and his men. When he learned what her interviews were about, he changed his tune. She thanked him and his men for their support and left for her home base, the New York Times in NYC.
A month later, a different Jack appears at her work, a cute and funny country boy, seeking the drink she promised anyone in that platoon who happened to be in her city, as a gesture of gratitude for her rescue. I LOVED the way he started sentences with Waaaaal, just like a good ole country boy. What should have been only a drink at a bar, extended into a weekend, and after several long phone calls, extended into a visit home, and so on. Their connection was so lively, their conversations flowed so freely and easily, that it was logical they should get together. However, they had a distance problem. He was stationed at Pendleton base in San Diego, California, and she worked in New York. Both loved what they do, and what I liked best is that they both accepted and supported that the other had a demanding job that was equally important. Thus, a relationship based in distance was their thing for now.
Lots of complications occur that further proved that they loved each other and that the distance was hurting them too much. Jack got a dose of what a military wife feels when their husbands deploy, so he was more sensitive to his mother’s, sister’s and Maggie’s feelings. Maggie was scared of Jack’s Marines deployments but she was onboard with his job. That was the double social message that I loved. Apart from Maggie’s presentation of the social injustices, especially those pertaining to women’s education, there was the trope where both characters have important jobs, both give service to their country, and how do you achieve compromise with both?
It truly was an inspirational read, apart from the yummy smutty scenes and their wonderful dialogues where they express their love.