In Karen D. Hamilton’s tale of friendship and self-acceptance, the main characters must learn to trust others and to identify internal demons.
Matt and Nicole meet on a camping trip in Wyoming and form an immediate bond. Each claims no interest in a romantic relationship, but over just two days they become close – both emotionally and physically.
Matt is a young Army vet traumatized by an incident from his deployment to Iraq. He’s recently divorced from the woman he still considers the love of his life, but he was unable to communicate his war experience to her. Nicole is also divorced; her disappointing marriage left her filled with self-doubt, which keeps her from committing to her best friend and business partner Sam, who is in love with her.
Nicole has a spiritual adviser whose teachings guide her to help Matt, but she’s unable to completely help herself. Eventually, Matt turns the focus from himself to Nicole, to support her struggles. Despite Matt and Nicole’s physical attraction, as evidenced by several evocative sex scenes, they soon recognize that their friends-with-benefits situation threatens their efforts to move forward with their true loves. They part, but continue to impact each other’s lives.
Although it’s difficult to believe that Nicole could immediately reach the part of Matt he had kept hidden so completely from his ex-wife and others, the novel has many strengths. Readers will steadfastly follow the characters’ journey of self-discovery, as Nicole shows Matt how to examine his situation from a distance and identify his strengths and Matt returns the favor.
The dialogue flows naturally, and detailed descriptions of the protagonists and their personalities, including imperfections, make them credible and relatable. Matt is sensitive, humorous and good-looking without being narcissistic. Nicole is intelligent and sensitive but can’t see her own positive attributes.
Infused with spiritual lessons, this story about two lost souls finding their way back to themselves proves a satisfying read.
Also available as an ebook.