Title: Nopeming Shores
Author: Margie Church and J. Andrew Lockhart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Grade/Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis: An IED snuffed out Gabe Holliway’s life, but couldn’t destroy his love. Using his unique gift, Gabe struggles to help his young wife, Lily, rebuild her shattered future. But when Gabe’s ghost reaches out to her, Lily fears she’s lost her last hold on sanity. Can she trust what she discovers and what her heart says? When she sees Gabe face-to-face, can she believe her eyes? When love transcends death, the answers are found in Nopeming Shores.
In this story we are given Lily, a broken woman who struggles daily with the devastating loss of her husband and soul mate, Gabe, during the war in Afghanistan. These two characters represent thousands of military families who make the sacrifices which most are unaware of. These spouses place themselves in danger to protect and fight for freedom, while their families are at home watching the news and feeling their resolve break when their world crumbles. War is an ugly thing no matter which way you look at it; and unfortunately, Lily’s story is like the thousands of spouses who face each day with unimaginable strength only to be taken down by those unexpected memories.
Lily has a life saturated by the Army but now faces this world without the one person she was destined to spend it with. Every song on the radio, every place she goes, even those she speaks to somehow test her fragile heart and nearly break her each time. Every day feels like a battle to conquer; and most days, she barely makes it through. During this time Gabe, whose spirit has not moved on, watches helplessly as his love becomes a shadow of what she once was, and he struggles within himself on how to help her move on. He is given an opportunity; but if it’s not handled correctly, neither of them will survive this new reality they face.
“All the old habits and routines had kinks in them now, too. Nothing came easy. People acted awkwardly around her and sometimes seemed to avoid her on purpose. At times, old friends spoke to her like she was as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. Some days she was.”
This story is written with great detail; and although it is not my favorite style of writing, readers can still gain the emotion and message the author is trying to convey. I had moments of understanding and felt a common bond with them that all military families share but is rarely ever written about. I wish this story had more of Lily and Gabe’s inner struggles to showcase the hardships these couples face, but there is enough to show readers just how these spouses live their lives. There is also an element of poetry that is not often found in novels, and it brought a different feel and flow to the story and gave it a more personal touch. It is a story with strengths and weaknesses, unbreakable love, and survival at its best and its ugliest. It shows the power that memories can have and the perseverance to get through life and potentially find peace.
“If I’ve learned anything, it’s that tomorrow is a gift. And so is love.”