Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Colin and Joshua faced the most harrowing ordeal of their lives with strength and courage. Believing they’d survived their trial, they looked forward to a future filled with happiness only to discover that the worst was yet to come. Sometimes surviving is the toughest trial of all.
After half a lifetime spent in short-term liaisons that allowed no intimacy, charismatic Irish police officer, Colin Campbell, found the love of his life. Dark-eyed, steady Joshua Abrams burned through Colin’s emotional barriers and taught him to look at life through new eyes, eyes that made room for the love and closeness he had always denied himself. Deeply in love and completely happy, their life together remains idyllic and their fiery passion for each other seems limitless.
They survive the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ riots, though not without scars. But later that month Colin’s position with the campus police force places him in charge of an informant program designed to crack a dangerous drug ring. Fully aware of the risks, he swears to Joshua that he will oversee the program without becoming directly involved. But Colin’s promise shatters when he becomes the only thing standing between a young Nigerian exchange student and a deadly drug lord.
Love’s Trials (Revolutionary Heart #2) by Janice Jarrell is another one of those stories whose rating I dithered over. Well written with a compelling story I need to keep asking myself why the disconnect with it? Because for me there was one.
It wasn’t totally with the location and storyline. That “ripped right from the headlines” plot about the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville is close enough to me that it was more of a local news story here and I have very close ties to UVA. No, that felt about right, along with all it’s accompanying issues. Even Colin’s handling and emotions towards a drug enforcement operation on campus, it’s use of students, and the administration’s official view felt realistic. Although the clumsy foreshadowing only needed organ music to make it feel completely obvious what was about to happen.
Jarrell does provide all her characters with the use of therapy they need whether it’s physical or emotional, whether its a support system they use immediately or take some time to realize its importance in their recovery (from whatever it is, and whoever they are…its more than one character here). I did appreciate that element in her storyline. That she doesn’t traumatize her characters and them have them miraculously jump back to their “old” selves. But….here’s the thing….there is a lot repetition here. Not in what is needed. But in the actual verbiage. The characters say much of the same things to each other and themselves over and over again. Got old.
And that brings me to my final realization. Why the disconnect. It’s because I wasn’t “there” emotionally with these characters. Had I been in the moment with them all the way maybe their interactions with each other not felt repetitious (no, they still would), but at least I would have sympathized with them. Instead I felt removed from the action and their relationship. More of a “huh, that’s too bad” sort of thing than a sniffling heart wrenching that a great connection brings. That belonged to a couple from a book I just put down. Their story? Totally captivated me from beginning to end while this one felt more like a exercise in how a romance survives a hardship 101. Someone is talking to you, telling you things the whole time…it never stops. It feels like an endless voiceover in some sections. “And now he learned his lesson. He learned (fill in words we’ve heard many times) and will never do it again.”. I don’t know. It never left the reader time to become part of the action because we were always being talked to. That’s my take anyway.
The story ends on a very happy note and the autor lets the readers and her fans know that a third story is in the works that carries Colin and Joshua, along with their friends Nate and David, into a new novel soon. Yes, Nate and David are a huge part of this story as well in case you needed to know.
Love’s Trials (Revolutionary Heart #2) by Janice Jarrell is a contemporary romance full of current new topics and well handled health issues that I appreciated. I thought it was well written although I had trouble engaging with the characters lives. I think most readers will enjoy this. It’s part of a series and for the full background on all the couples and what they have gone through to get to this stage in their lives and relationships, it needs to be read in the order the stories were written.
Cover art: Janice Jarrell. As the cover artist is the author, yes that’s an accurate representation of the characters themselves.
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published September 12th 2018 by Amazon
SeriesRevolutionary Heart #2