Last Salute by Tracey RichardsonLast Salute by Tracey Richardson is the story of finding love after a tragedy.

Pamela Wright’s life changes when a knock on the door brings news that her sister, Laura, has died in Afghanistan. On a pendulum of grief, anger and desperation, Pamela doesn’t know how to cope with the news that she is now entirely alone in the world.

The news of Laura’s death brings Trish, Laura’s ex, back into Pamela’s life. Trish is fighting the demons of Laura abandoning her so many years ago while trying to help Pamela through the grief.

After the funeral, a parcel of Laura’s things arrive from Afghanistan, including her diary. Laura’s words could help Trish and Pamela understand why she chose to risk her life for an army that didn’t support her as a lesbian. It could also open old wounds but that is a risk the women need to take if they ever have a chance of moving on and finding the most elusive thing of all, true love.

The Characters

I liked both female leads and I enjoyed watching their transformation through the book.

Laura’s diary was well done and a great storytelling technique that gave me insight into her character.

The Writing Style

Tracey Richardson writes well. I was skeptical about the story for the first third of the novel. How do you relate to characters who are going through such a personal grieving process? But by the end of the book Richardson had won me over, entirely.

Make no mistake, there are really painful moments in this book especially at the beginning. And there is a weird factor to Trish being Pamela’s love interest after having dated her sister. But I liked how Richardson handled all of that and was glad I kept listening.

The Narration

Maxine Mitchell did a good job of differentiating the voices, keeping the pacing and telling the story clearly.

One downside to this book is that narration doesn’t lend itself to enhancing the beauty of the language used, so I missed a lot of that and only picked it up when I went back to get the excerpt for this review.

The Pros

This is the story of hope, even in a situation when you feel like there is none. It is about finding a future in the bleakest of times.

The Cons

This is a slow burn romance. A really slow, slow burn romance. And you have to go through grief along with the characters.

The Conclusion

After a slow start, I really ended up enjoying this audiobook. I loved the delicacy with which the emotions were handled. I loved that she had Pamela do some unexpected things to find her way out of the grief and that she ended up in a completely different place at the end of the book. A place that honored both her sister and her new self.

I loved how Laura was portrayed through her diary. The glimpses into her life added a depth to the story and took it from everyday to really interesting.

If you are up for a good book that will hit you in the heart and drag you through an emotional roller coaster towards an unexpectedly happy ending, then this is the book for you. It’s definitely different from so many contemporary romances and yet at its heart that is exactly what it is.

Excerpt from Last Salute by Tracey Richardson

Pamela Wright never thought it would happen again. Only much later, the myopia of grief having blurred, did she marvel at the cruel swiftness with which her world had crumbled with a simple, unexpected knock on the door. She never saw it coming, never expected it, though she probably should have. She’d been visited by tragedy before, had learned that hard lesson a long time ago. Her mistake had been in thinking it couldn’t happen again, that lightning never strikes twice. Allowing herself to be cradled in a false, flimsy sense of security was inexcusable and was something she vowed would never happen again.

It began as one of those days in the ER of Chicago’s University of Illinois Medical Center–the kind that made Pam ache to race home and lie around in her pajamas, watch one of her old romance DVDs, indulge in the forbidden comforts of a bag of artery-clogging chips and a glass or two of wine.

She had almost-but not quite-felt guilty about her little plan as she climbed the steps to her two-bedroom townhouse, the day thankfully behind her. If it’d been one of those crazy, adrenaline-infused ER shifts of car crashes on the Lakeshore or gang shootings from the South Side–the kind of tragic stuff that was fertile ground for medical heroics–she’d still be jacked up. Jacked up and throwing on her jogging shoes instead of rooting around in her fridge for leftover spaghetti and meatballs and trying to decide between Sleepless in Seattle or While You Were Sleeping. But there’s been no such luck. Instead, the day had been a dreary, soul-sucking one, and her exhaustion was more mental than physical, because she’d finished her shift with zero sense of accomplishment, zero sense of having helped anyone in a meaningful way.

Hmm, she thought, Meg Ryan or Sandra Bullock? Both were cute and wholesome and girl next door-ish–exactly the kind of woman Pam secretly pined for but never had the time, the energy or the brazen confidence to pursue. A dog could be cute and wholesome too, and she had a much better chance of sharing her life with a chocolate Lab than a Meg or Sandra, she mused. Pathetically, that idea was okay with her at the moment.

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[tweetthis]Pam slid to the floor as the door closed, unspooling in ever way possible. [/tweetthis]

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781594933721
  • Publisher: Bella Books
  • Audiobook Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Narrator: Maxine Mitchell

Tracey Richardson Online 

Note: I received a free review copy of Last Salute by Tracey Richardson. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

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