A review by Vanessa.
Emma and Max are a typical young American military couple. With the arrival of their new baby James, they are ecstatic with joy. Their lives seem almost perfect. But when Emma loses Max to an unexpected bomb in Afghanistan, making Max a beloved hero to all who know him and Emma a widow and single mother, she must learn to live without him. Four years later, Emma and James have moved back to their home state of Florida to be near all of James’s grandparents and to try and move on with their lives. Alec is a handsome, athletic, tae kwon do-instructing doctor, with some sadness in his past and a daughter of his own. When these two single parents meet and keep bumping into each other, life seems to be setting itself right again. Their large and supportive families who care for them are cautious but hopeful that these two may find something in each other that they really need. Emma and Alec are hoping the same…
Shattered Dreams can definitely be categorized as touching and at times heartwarming. The readers’ experience reading the book however will depend heavily on their personal experience. Enjoyment of the book and engagement with the characters will be much easier for those who have shared experiences with the characters. Though Kennedy’s writing obviously reflects a connection to the specific circumstances in the story, and a desire to share emotions such as loss, grief, love, and hope, there lacks a deeper connection to those emotions. The writing itself feels as though it mostly embraces the same cliché of what a reader might typically find in any similar story. This could be a facet of the writing itself, as the word choices and sentence complexity rarely stray past the most basic. That aspect makes this read very clear and it makes understanding the motivation of the characters, and the point of the author, very easy. It also, however, makes the reading rather tedious. The overly brief, simply structured sentences have a more procedural and less emotional feel, and can stunt the reader’s ability to emotionally connect with the characters.
For those readers who have specific knowledge of what Emma and Max are going through with the birth of their son, or know what it is really like to lose a husband to war, or have specific experiences with being a single parent, the experience may be more engaging. Even so, most readers will be able to see how the subject matter is both heartbreaking, and heartwarming. Family moments are frequent in the book and reflect a feeling of home, family, and love that any reader can certainly appreciate. And the ending of the book contains a twist which I probably should have, but did not see coming. It might just be enough to make me pick up book number two.
Rating: 3/5 stars.
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