REVIEW: Once and For All by Cheryl Etchison

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Rating 5 Stars

High school sweethearts Bree and Danny break up when Danny enlists in the military and leaves without warning. Years later after beating cancer twice, Bree is desperate to get some space and start over. Danny offers her a marriage that will allow her to get away and find herself again. What starts out as a renewal of a friendship soon turns to more as Bree re-finds her confidence and Danny learns what it means to really love someone.

For a debut novel, Once and For All was absolutely fantastic! Etchison’s voice has a great flow and lends a natural tone and style to the story. Her characters are all perfectly crafted and their relationships with each other are great to witness.

As to Bree and Danny’s relationship, I couldn’t ask for more. Though they had some issues to work through initially, they both still cared about each other and that came through perfectly. Danny really wanted to help Bree and it was great to see their friendship redevelop. Books with ex-lovers can often be so angst-y as the characters deal with their history but it was nice to see how Bree and Danny reminisced on their past and enjoyed the memories of their happier times. Danny was the perfect love interest: caring, funny and goofy and truly concerned with making Bree happy. Both characters were very self-aware and understood that things don’t get fixed if you don’t talk it out. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

I loved the brotherhood between Danny and Michael and even when they were arguing or fighting you knew they were just looking out for each other. I also loved Bree’s interactions with Michael; oftentimes the writer under-develops the relationship between a lead and the other lead’s sibling and this was not the case here. Not only did Danny and Bree grow up together but Bree and Michael grew up together too and that comes through so clearly in their sibling like friendship. I’m really hoping to get Michael’s story in the future.

It’s a small thing, but Bree took so long to talk to Danny about her cancer and her problems. Even then I understood why she was reluctant to reveal her secrets.

Content Note: cancer survivor

••• Book Details •••

American Valor #1    Romance, Contemporary    Avon    May 24, 2016

Rule #1: Military and matrimony don’t mix.

But if there’s one person Staff Sergeant Danny MacGregor would break all his rules for, it’s Bree—his first friend, first love, first everything. Maybe he likes playing the hero. Maybe he’s trying to ease ten years of guilt. Either way, he’ll do whatever he can to help her.

Wish #1: A little bit of normal.

Bree Dunbar has battled cancer, twice. What she wants most is a fresh start in a place where she can find a new job, and where people aren’t constantly treating her like she’s sick. By some miracle her wish is granted, but it comes with one major string attached— the man who broke her heart ten years before.

The rules for this marriage of convenience are simple: when she’s ready to stand on her own two feet, she’ll walk away and he’ll let her go. Only, as they both know all too well, things don’t always go according to plan.

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Once and for All included in:

Best Reads of 2016


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