Thursday, May 3, 2018

Book Review: 'Only If You Dare' by Margo Hoornstra


Given that Ms. Hoornstra sets If Only You Dare smack in the middle of the difficult emotional background of a PTSD victim and counselor, you may be forgiven for thinking this will be a depressing and difficult read. It is neither.
The author’s heroine, Cynthia Buckingham, is a well intention-ed, and well-qualified PSTD counselor. She’s read the books, passed the exams and helped victims face their future with all the tools they need.
Or has she?
War veteran, Jonah Colt, has seen it all, and survived to return home, but the memories, experiences, guilt and regrets are his constant companions. Never-the-less he’s managed to glue over the cracks and make a presentable life for himself – until he bumps into Cynthia Buckingham in the hallway of the local courthouse – and then his life changes.
The author’s characters take the reader through the trials when practice meets theory and the effects it has on her hero and heroine in a realist and sympathetic manner, and with a light touch that took this reader right into the situation. I felt Cynthia’s frustration, and Jonah’s anger. I watched as they struggled to overcome major differences and sympathized with both while wanting to knock their heads together on a couple of occasions.
Ms. Hoornstra’s writing style offers an easy read, provides clear settings and a smooth transition from scene to scene. Her character’s have depth, both in their strengths and their flaws. Her minor characters balance the struggles her hero and heroine have with learning to trust, that while they ‘listen’ they truly ‘hear’ what the other is saying.
In a short story this author has used a difficult subject to create believable characters, and a charming, easy-to-read, sweet romance.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.