I went to war, running away from myself. I came back in pieces to find out who I really was…
It took me nearly ten years, two tours in Afghanistan and losing a leg to come to terms with who I really am.
Two years after coming back from war, I can say that I’m finally content. I’m as fit as ever, my prosthetic leg allowing me the freedom to move and exercise as if nothing has changed. I own a small bakery in the centre of Cambridge, and I have a loyal circle of friends that I can always count on.
Yet, there’s something missing. A part of me craves the intimacy, the deep connection to another human being. But another – bigger – part of me is terrified of letting anyone in.
My internal conflict didn’t stand a chance when I met Jay. He stormed through my defence walls like a hurricane, wrapping around me with gentle force until I had no choice but to surrender.
Surrendering has never felt so good.
Will Jay want to stay when he sees the real me? When he sees the nightmares and insecurities clawing at my soul? When he realises the burden I come with may be heavier than we both can carry?
My favorite thing about Teodora Kostova’s books is that they are about real people, living their lives, despite whatever hard things they have gone through, they have lives that they are trying to live, and hopefully love will come to these men in the process.
Quite often books that have characters returned from war have PTSD, and it is a HUGE part of the story. And in some ways it was. Amir, “Cookie”, suffered from it, after losing a leg, and being taken down in a building. Yet, that wasn’t the primary focus here. Yes, he had bouts of it, and he did try to shield Jay from the worst of it, but he was working through it, taking it day by day, building a life, a business, and soon a relationship. The story was more about finding life and love AFTER traumatic events than the re-telling of the fresh from the war difficulties. A fresh baked version of a difficult story, no matter how it is told.
Seeing how Jay reacted to the world Amir lived in, his PTSD, his volunteering at the veterans home, was wonderful. He was able to incorporate his creativity, as well as his connections, and help where Amir couldn’t help any more. His love for Amir made him want to help those that needed help.
I loved seeing Amir focus on expanding his business, wanting to try new things, and not being stuck in a depression that he couldn’t come out of. Although I realize that is how many injured vets return home from war, it is not that way for all, and reading it from that perspective was fresh. Again, it allowed for these men to be living their lives, even if Amir was afraid to love.
Next time, the author needs to put some of these recipes in the book. Just saying. 🙂
4 pieces of eye candy.
Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job a few years ago when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.
When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid.
Don’t be shy and get in touch – I love connecting with my readers.
Twitter: @Teodora_Kostova https://twitter.com/Teodora_Kostova