The second in this series is very much like the first (From Ashes to Honor). Honor is involved in Search and Rescue, working with her two dogs. Matt is a past rescue worker, but when his wife died and left him with twin boys to raise, he became a newspaper reporter.
When these two meet, there is attraction on both sides. The novel consists of the struggles the two have over past hurts, trying to come to a point where each can make a commitment to the other.
This is a very character driven novel. Much of the text consists of the characters thinking, trying to convince themselves making a commitment is the right thing to do, pulling back, then being sorry, then thinking of making a commitment, worrying about it...
There is a little more action in this novel than the first in the series as Honor actually does go out on a dangerous rescue. However, the action of the rescue is missing as we go from her arriving on the scene to to her being in need of rescue. It is rather odd, though, to have novels about the important people who first respond in times of crisis yet the response work actually not being part of the novel (while it is talked about by some of the characters). Lough is a writer of ruminating thoughts, not of dramatic scenes.
The ending in unsatisfactory. The characters at the end of the novel have not worked through their issues and are no more ready to make a commitment than they were at the beginning. So what is the point of the novel? There's no growth in the characters, no resolving of issues. So why even read it? Why go through a couple of hundred pages of emotional drama and end up right where you started?
Lough writes for emotional drama and sometimes, it seems to me, with unsatisfactory results. One example is at the end of chapter 19. Honor has fallen asleep in the arms of Matt, at Honor's home. He is thinking some serious thoughts about their relationship, about when she wakes up. Thoughts that will have an immediate effect on their relationship. Yet the next chapter begins in a totally different situation. There is no Matt leaving her house, no further action on those serious thoughts Matt was thinking. Granted, reference was make a bit later about his leaving in the morning, but only in reference to his nanny for the boys, not in regard to the relationship between Matt and Honor. I felt Lough had brought the novel to a serious point, and then just moved on to another scene, as if the night before had never happened.
In my mind, an editor needs to go through her writing an point out these areas of heightened emotion which do not move the novel forward but are only for drama.
Abingdon Press Fiction, 272 pages.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.