Travel the world with Parajumper Captain Michael Northington, a member of an elite team of rescuers on special ops missions with the US Air Force. Get a taste of the intense, grueling training that made him the the hero you’ve always wanted to read about. In contrast, experience the idyllic life of leisure with Elise Eisler on the tropical island of St. Croix. Elise is the daughter of prominent artistic and musical parents of the island where culture and the rhythm of life blend seamlessly in an atmosphere that attracts tourists, and the rich and famous. Elise’s world cocooned her from the harsh realities of life. Michael’s life is one that faces the ugliness of the world’s underbelly almost daily. It would seem unlikely they would ever reconcile these two worlds with each other’s.
Michael wasn’t part of the Air Force as a parajumper merely for the adrenaline rush; he believed in saving people. The missions gave him purpose and a reason to live, especially after the death of his mother and two little sisters. But then, a mission went wrong and Michael lost his vision. He quit the team and went in search of a place to rest his mind and body. He found his solitude in a rented cottage on an island. Time slowed down for him and he regained his sense of balance.
Elise owned the cottage Michael rented. She respected the mystery man’s privacy, so it was months before they crossed paths. In the meantime, Elise was growing up fast, trying to shoulder the responsibility of preserving an aging and decaying building–her parents’ legacy–the town’s theater/symphony hall. In her mind, she was equating the showcase theater’s well-being with her own. She had rented the cottage, a place associated with her childhood memories of music, art and her parents, in an effort to raise money for the badly needed repairs. It wasn’t enough. When an old family friend suggested she create a special painting to auction at a benefit for the renovations, she was thrilled. But when her work of art gained a great deal of attention, Elise was faced with a choice of futures. What did she really want?
This is the first book I’ve read from Ms. Wells. What impressed me most about the book is the detail that went into its creation, the research about parajumper training and operations as well as the details of the island’s history. The author did a great job getting behind Michael’s eyes, especially detailing the team efforts put out when they attempted a rescue. That part of the story was exciting to read.
The second aspect I liked about the book was how well Elise’s slower-paced world contrasted with Michael’s dangerous world. While each character faced dilemmas in their own world, the contrast created a larger dilemma that took on greater importance as Michael and Elise grew to know each other. Could their relationship work?
This is indeed a love story that almost surprises the reader in its brevity. Saying that, I don’t think you should mistake it for a romance. In my opinion, a romance is where a couple works through their developing relationship; they clash, falter, hesitate, recover, and even gain strength. Ultimately, they can face challenges within and without until they are knit together and ready to face life as a team. Michael and Elise didn’t quite reach that level of intimacy by the book’s end. There is, however, an additional book, part two, that I anticipate may resolve this issue. I’d be interested in reading it to find out.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from bookfun.org on behalf of Elk Lake Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”