It took me long to read Fighting Redemption because I felt I wasn’t ready for this book. I read from numerous reviews that it was stuffed with intense emotions – angst, insecurities, selfishness, etc. which kept me putting off this book for a while. What made me decide to read this? I was itching and dead curious why it got such high ratings and tons of reviews from Goodreads. I guess the only way to find out is to read it.
Before I proceed, you are forewarned that there are some spoilers here. Read at your own risk.
Fighting Redemption is a poignant story of a boy’s struggle, so determined to get out of his father’s custody and the only way to achieve it is to pursue his dream of becoming a SAS soldier. It’s also a poignant story of a man’s struggle who kept his feelings hidden for someone who he considers his life.
Ryan Kendall, Jake and Finlay Tanners started their friendship since childhood. They went to the same school. Ryan first saw Finlay in his school when she stumbled in front of him, helped her and scolded his friends who laughed at her. Then came Jake, Finlay’s older brother. Jake has this easy – to – love, hard – to – resist charming personality who immediately unloose Ryan’s wary personality. From then on, they were inseparable. When Ryan saw Finlay for the first time, he knew then that Finlay was the one. A young love started to bloom since then.
Ryan was a broken boy, beaten up by his drunken father and a mother who couldn’t protect him from his abusive father. He stayed with the Tanner’s most of the time, which became his extended family in order to avoid being beaten up whenever his father was on the drunken spree.
“Don’t let anyone stop you from being who you need to be.” He once said this to Finlay and he told her he’s leaving come morning for the Army. This was the time Fin started dating. This was the stage in Finlay’s life that gave him more reason to leave because he couldn’t bear to see her in someone’s arm making her happy like he used to do.
Ryan and Jake became more than blood brothers who both served in the Army and belong in the same group. They went home and both stayed at Finlay’s cottage. After six years of no communication from Ryan, Finlay had moved on (or so she thought). She had a promising career and Ian who loves her. When Jake and Ryan returned from their service, they decided to move in in her cottage. Seeing Ryan once again, Finlay remembered the pain she felt when he left her. She tried to move on with her life but Ryan, being constantly around her, complicated her relationship with Ian, making her more confused. This where my head started to ache.
As much as Ian wanted to give everything for Finlay so he could have all her love and attention, he knew then that he didn’t own her heart from the start. He knew he was coming second best to everything she did in her life. Who would not be tired of that? He gave his 100% but then, it wasn’t enough for her. He didn’t stand a chance with Ryan being around or not. So, he cut her loose.
Finlay did try to work things out with Ian. She did try at least. She was fair with Ian. She didn’t want the guilt hanging around while she’s into Ian and at the same time she still loves Ryan. But, as much as she tried to love Ian, she knew Ryan was all she wanted from the beginning but couldn’t have.
Ryan. You are a very difficult man, really. What didn’t work for me was how Ryan kept running away from Finlay which was contrary to what he felt towards her for years. That I don’t get. As much as I don’t want to say it, I don’t much like it. How could he run away to someone he declared she’s his life and yet, he kept doing it? Why all these drama? Couldn’t he give himself a chance to be happy for once? He’s been yearning for a relationship with her for years yet, he kept pushing her away. Ryan believed he’s not enough for Finlay because of who he was. He served his country well by becoming one of the best SAS soldiers in their group. He was able to get away from his father. He’s broken, I get that. He loves his career more than anything else, I get that too. (When one reached the peak of his/her career, isn’t it about time to focus on the ‘love’ thing. Isn’t that the usual thing? I don’t know, I may be wrong but that’s what I would do. If I have everything in life and love is the missing link in my life, I would work harder on that and would take my chance. But, anyway, this isn’t about me. This is about Ryan. Sigh.) There were more unhappy moments when they were together than the happy ones. Every time they were together, they made out, argued and then Ryan would walk away right through the door. Running away and going to war was his own escape rather than confront his fears and tell Finlay what was eating him. Everything that happened to him was already in the past. He can’t undo everything. He can only do is face the now but that isn’t the case in this book. He loved to wallow in his pain.
The scene that touched me most and tore my heart to pieces was when a chaplain knocked to Finlay’s door to announce the death of her brother, Jake. That scene really made me teary because I knew this happened in real life. I felt her pain and the families who had lost their loved ones in the war. This scene really broke my heart. This was the only scene and Kyle, helped me to get through this book.
The title said it all about Ryan. He’s fighting his own redemption. Ryan and Finlay gave me headaches while reading this. Don’t worry, there is HEA here which is obviously written in the prologue. What I have learned in reading this book is this: It’s like eating fish. You swallow the meat and you throw away the bones. Don’t swallow everything. Yes, this story is very emotional and irritating for me most of the times. The POV of the characters are at times confusing, which I had to go back and read the last paragraph to figure out who was talking.
This is just my personal opinion. This is how I see the book. I don’t owe anyone. If you want über drama book, try this one. Happy reading!
13 February 2014