Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: 6/3/14
Rating: 4 stars
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Life begins at happily ever after…
For Elsie and Henry, getting married and buying a house is only the beginning of their passionate new adventure. Elsie is flourishing in her job while Henry embarks on a new career as a police officer. Everything, it seems, has finally fallen into place.
Just when it’s all smooth sailing, they face life-altering changes that make Elsie question her ability to adapt. With Henry’s job putting him in constant danger, she watches helplessly while he slips back into his old habits. Elsie must find a way—through any means necessary—to prevent the past from repeating.
With the sand constantly shifting underfoot, Elsie and Henry have to figure out how to strengthen their bond—before they end up losing what matters most…'
I feel silly, but I was not aware Arrest is a sequel to Disarm, a book I've wanted to read since reading the amazing Braine's review at Talk Supe. If I had realized, I would have definitely made the time to read Disarm first. As it is, I was left curious enough that, even though I already know how Henry and Elsie's story goes, I'm now even more interested and will definitely go back to read it. I will say that not having an already established investment in this couple did have me slow to warm to their story. I didn't know these people, their long road to marriage, or how deep their love went. But I found out quickly. Gray did a good job of interspersing bits of the backstory into Arrest, and I was able to pick up on the dynamics and fall into a very powerful story.
I won't sugar coat it, Arrest was sometimes hard to read. Very hard. To be fair, most marriage-in-crisis books are. Despite that, I tend to find myself drawn to them. I think that's partially due to a morbid fascination, because a troubled marriage is brutal and messy and so painful. I'm also drawn to them for the examination of the issues and the methods in which they're worked out, or not. It's like, you know when you find out someone has an illness, and you think to yourself if you engage in any of the factors that might have led to the illness? That's how I approach marriage-in-crisis books. I am a painfully self-aware person, always hoping to be aware of my flaws or issues so I can correct them. I look for pieces of myself in the characters and wonder if there's a lesson to learn. I struggle along with them, knowing these issues lurk and arise in many marriages. I love when a book give me insights into not only the characters and their issues, but issues that could possibly relate to my life as well.
In Henry and Elsie's case, we have a long and emotionally heavy past that led to a passionate marriage. Now, anyone who's been married more than a day knows that the story is only beginning at "I do." Though Henry and Elsie made it through some really rough times - her brother's death, his struggles to cope with life at war, a breakup, other relationships- with a love that is strong, life moves on and as it moves, new problems pop up. Henry has a new, demanding job as a police officer with long hours and the mental strain and solitude that brings him. He is a man who feels so deeply, can't let the casualties of war or his job go easily. The very thing that makes him such a good man also threatens his mental health and his marriage. Elsie has a rewarding job with a boss who's a little too interested in her, she's lonely because her husband works long hours and comes home withdrawn. Fertility and children is an issue that strains the marriage. Jealousy and temptations arise. It's just...life. So, so messy, but when you have two characters who've gone through so much to make it this far, and are willing to fight hard for a future, it's beautiful.
Arrest is Henry and Elsie's story of what comes after the HEA. The more I've considered it, the more value I find. We also get an excerpt from the upcoming Surrender, centering on Julie, Elsie's brother's girlfriend. This looks to be another moving story from June Grey, and is already on my to-read list.
"I love you," Henry said, his lips scraping against my ear. I knew right then that he felt it too, this magic that was spinning around, binding us together. "I could spend a hundred lifetimes loving you and it still won't be enough."
A tear escaped and slipped down my cheek. "I wish we could set things straight." I twisted around in his lap so that I was facing him, my legs hanging off to the side. "Go back to being those naïve newlyweds without a care in the world."
Henry shook his head. "No, I don't want to go back there," he said, taking me aback. "I don't want to be that guy because he's still in for a hell of a time. I'd rather be this guy right now, holding you in my arms even after all the mistakes I've made."
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