Tuesday, November 15, 2011
COME BACK TO ME REVIEWED BY FRAN LEWIS
Come Back to Me
Author: Melissa Foster
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
In two separate and distant parts of the world lives are in jeopardy, survival is paramount and the end result will not be what either will expect. Tess Johnson is struggling with a decision that would change her life forever. Beau Johnson is a photographer sent to the war zone in Iraq to photograph the atrocities for all to see. Pictures of families that he photographed line the tops of mantles, desks and walls of Tess and Beau’s home. Yet, the void in her heart will never be filled as we learn more about this man, his fate in the third outstanding novel by award winning author Melissa Foster.
Finding out that you are going to have a child should make you happy. Tess is anything but happy when her doctor presents her with the news. Wanting to share her joy with her husband Beau and hoping that he will contact her on Skype she sits and waits but the call never comes. Working, dealing with clients, talking to friends to divert her attention from her own problems and fears, she never expects what will happen next.
On the other side of the world two women are fighting for their lives in order to protect their children and grandchildren. One is a doctor and the other her daughter. Both are in hiding in a tent that is hardly fit for anyone to live in and with limited access to supplies, water and the necessities needed to stay alive. But, fear and hope will do a lot for some people and they won’t give up nor will they go to safe house and risk death.
Imagine waking up in the middle of the desert critically injured and seeing two Iraqi women, the enemy, so to speak tending your wounds. Not knowing whether he will survive, be killed or able to contact his family, Beau Johnson is in the hands of these two women. Little does he know that his wife, Tess, is unaware of his surroundings and whereabouts as someone came to her door and informed her of his demise? Thoughts of Tess and his love for her keep him going and the will to survive is as strong as the light of the blazing sun in the sky never to burn out.
Two different worlds coming together as one as Tess struggles to go on and survive hoping Beau will return and two women lost in a war, casualties of hate in a country torn apart by those living there. One helicopter crash changed the complexion of so many lives. The question is what will the end result be?
Tess refused to accept Beau’s death spending her days going though the motions of life but not really there. Tess let her job and her business to Alice to handle and refused to deal with anything, which involved Beau’s death. Admitting to herself that he was not longer there was not in the cards nor was a memorial service. With the help of Alice and Beau’s best friend Kevin Tess found some means of semblance in her life and began to join the real world. But, was she really there or was she just a fragment of herself?
Flashing between Maryland Iraq the reader learns of the struggles of the younger woman named Samira her arranged marriage that led to her being defiled and abused by her husband and her bond with Suha she considered a grandmother to her children. We learn more about Suha and her life taking care of her father and giving up any chance of marriage and children of her own. But, following in his footsteps as a doctor is why she is able to care for Beau and heal his wounds. Following in her father’s path she is kind, caring and diligent in her methods and ways of caring for her patient. But, neither woman forgets the dangers outside of their tent, the world that presents a threat to her and the young children every minute of the day.
Beau finally wakes up and his path or road to recovery is long and hard but with the picture of Tess in his hand and his will to live he just might survive. But what about Tess? Let’s return to Maryland and understand that she is runs an employment agent or headhunter placing clients in jobs that suit them. When a man named Louie comes into her life as a potential client, unique in his own business practices will she find warmth within his arms or will her mind keep hoping Beau will come back to her.
The ending is exhilarating and heartbreaking. We journey through Beau's trek home and Tess coming to grips with reality to then be thrust into them finding their way back together. The results are not cookie cutter or expected. No simple running into his arms. Tess begins dating again and tries to rebuild her life with the help of her secretary and best friend.
Beau is not dead; two Iraqi women that are on the run from honor killings find him soon after the helicopter crash and nurse him back to life. Together they will endure several months living in the desert while making their way to safety along with one of the women's two small children. Beau makes it to safety and returns home surprising Tess who had all but giving up hope to ever see him again. And this is when the real story starts to develop. What will Beau find when he gets back home? What will he believe about Tess and the way she lived her life during the months of his ordeal in Iraq? Love will be tested to the limit, friendships will be questioned and their perceptions of what happened will be exposed and examined.
As the reader begins to understand the minds of each Iraqi woman and their plight you also learn more about Beau, his warmth, understanding and how he begins to assimilate in their society. Even the children except for Zeid, play games with him, learn some English and are starting to accept him as part of their family and life. But the dangers of war never cease and they are
Surround them and often never fade. But, some miracles occur and with the help of one man Beau, Samira, her children and Suha begin their journey to safety. But, something happens on the plane and one member loses her life and the rest have to carry one.
When Beau is able to contact Kevin he swears him so secrecy wanting to reveal that he is alive to Tess and his parents himself. Misconceptions and misunderstandings run high in this story when Beau finally reveals himself to Tess the unexpected happens and she is critically injured in an accident. One glance backward would change their lives forever. One man’s decision to adhere to his five year plan before setting down would haunt him the rest of his days. Leaving Samira and her family in the safety of Mr. Fulan his boss and his wife, he goes the hospital to check on Tess. As events come to light and friendships are tested and truths come out Beau’s anger rages, his trust for Tess questioned and the answers he hears are not the ones he is willing to accept.
Traumatic Brain Injury is serious and anoxia is what took my sister last year. As you learn about the dangers of losing oxygen to the brain, the frustration and anger, which Beau could no longer hold inside, I could hear myself saying the same things he did to the doctors when told my sister, would never come back to us and would live in a vegetative state on life support forever.
As Alice makes a phone call that would alienate her from Kevin and Beau she begins to look deep within herself for answers to why she feels so alone and has never really learned to trust any man. Remembering how Tess was there for her when she was attacked and nursed her back to health. Loyalty to one man should never have been in question but Beau begins to think that Louie was more than just a friend to Tess until the honest truth is placed and he reads them for himself.
What happens to Beau and the end result will make you cherish every day with your family, never doubt their love and understand that life can take you on a downhill ride and spiral out of control. Control: that is what Tess wanted when she thought Beau was gone. Beau wanted the same and hoped he could change the end result. The choices we make in life are the ones we have to live with. As Beau comes to face what he needed to do he also had to face his future and his new daughter. Will he accept his new child or will he cast her away too? What will happen to Samira and her children who have grown to care for him? Will Zeid ever rid himself of the hate that his father instilled in him?
Come Back to Me brings to light what happens when a chance accident and fluke changes one man’s life forever, the way he sees the world and how he reacts to others. It brings to light what happens when misconceptions rule of clear thinking and honest thought. If Beau trusted Tess why would he doubt her love? The anger in his heart seeing her in the hospital was understandable. Some of his actions that you will read about and that of others will help you to understand what happens when you take things at face value and forget the faith you have in the other person.
COME BACK TO ME: HE PROMISED HER THAT HE WOULD. HE DID! BUT WILL SHE!
This novel gives the reader much pause for thought and the end result really does hit home. The research the author did related to Brain Traumatic Injury, coma and more was extensive as she takes the reader inside ICU and up close and personal with the doctors and nurses he deal with this everyday. Once again author Melissa Foster has written a novel far above the rest. A story that is definitely true to life and characters that are quite well defined and vividly described. The war scenes and encounters with the soldiers and their journey home bring the other side of the world right here to America and the reader. Two different worlds made up of different people of different background converging into one all hoping to survive.
I give this book: FIVE WARM HUGS
Fran Lewis: Reviewer