TO HOLD AND TO LOVE and TO HOLD AND TO HEAL by Naomi Lecroy
TO HOLD AND TO HEAL: Nice is at her wit’s end, struggling to keep her alcoholic father’s bar and grill open after the death of her brother, dealing with flaky employees, and just about working herself to death. She more than needs some sexual diversion, so when a sexy vet with a limp offers her a one night stand, she takes him up on it–only to have him walk through the bar’s door the next day. As it turns out, he was one of her dead brother’s best friend’s. He promised her brother he’d take care of her, and he’s not going home until he does.
TO HOLD AND TO LOVE: When Alyssa starts writing a Navy Seal in a pen pal program, she has no idea that their letters back and forth will eventually ignite sparks in both their hearts. But when her Navy Seal gets back to the states, will his extreme PTSD keep them from realizing the relationship that started through letters?
TO HOLD AND TO HEAL: I rarely read surly female characters that I actually like, so Nice was a great surprise. She’s surly, but for very good reasons. She has a lot on her plate, and she’s self-sacrificing to a fault. I think a lot of readers while identify with her. The story itself is not only touching, but pretty dang romantic, and I adored her best friend Peg, who told it like it was, while always seeming to have Nice’s best interest in mind. I also loved that the hero has all his stuff figured out, while she does not and that his love and healing inspires her in terrific ways.
TO HOLD AND TO LOVE: I loved watching the H/H get to know each other through letters first. The Navy Seal hero is sympathetic, and I was definitely cheering for him. Really great initial courtship.
TO HOLD AND TO HEAL: The hero is a little underdeveloped, but the author makes up for this by not giving him a POV. Good choice. This line from the hero addressing the black heroine was weird: “You turn such a pretty shade of red when you’re embarrassed.”
TO HOLD AND TO LOVE: This story starts off great but then runs into a bunch of craft and structure issues. The hero and heroine spend way too much of the book apart, which really stagnates their growth as a couple and the romantic arc of the story. And, most of the conflict is either summarized or conveyed through interior thought which gave the novella a very rushed feeling and ultimately rendered it an unsatisfying read. The characters never really deal with each other, and all of their healing takes place either off page or while they’re apart. In the end it was hard to see why the H/H needed to be together, and this made the novella’s sweet epilogue feel unearned.
TO HOLD AND TO HEAL: Steamy. Good sex scenes.
TO HOLD AND TO LOVE: Steamy verging on erotic. Good sex scenes.
TO HOLD AND TO HEAL: Some typos. Exclamation mark abuse.
TO HOLD AND TO LOVE: Several typos. A few convoluted sentences.
Publisher: Naomi Lecroy
Length: HEAL: 95 pages LOVE: 83 pages
Final Grade: TO HOLD AND TO HEAL: B+
TO HOLD AND TO LOVE: C-
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Theodora Taylor writes and reviews in Pittsburgh, PA.