Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Series: Love & Honor #3
Release Date: November 1, 2022
You can't give up on love
When she was just five years old, Melissa Braxton watched her father take her mother's life and suffered the pain of separation from her sister, Lola. Melissa grew up with a strong desire to help those stuck in abusive relationships. It's why she became a therapist and opened a domestic abuse shelter.
After losing a leg to a gunshot wound in the line of duty, Phil Osbourne has felt like a man without a purpose--until he hears Melissa's story and decides to use his Special Forces contacts to track down her missing sister, the wife of a Colombian cartel teniente. He knows what he discovers will break Melissa's heart. What he doesn't realize is that helping the women reunite will bring the cartel down on them like the category 5 hurricane striking Miami.
Bruised yet not quite broken, Melissa and Phil battle the storm and the cartel, calling on strength they didn't know they had to escape death, save the innocent, and--just maybe--find healing in each other's arms.
Reviewer: Marie Edwards
This is a rare event for me to read a book series that is released one right after the other every month. It isn't bad, as readers won't have to wait upwards of three years for the conclusion. I found it unusual but refreshing.
The independently published prequel, Love in Any Language, and the first Revell book in the series, Honor Bound, were released in September, followed by Word of Honor.
I strongly recommend reading the books in order, even from the prequel (I got my copy on Amazon). As this is Phil's story, there are references to the first book's events.
As this is the final book in the series, it winds down from the momentum of the prequel and first two books. It also takes a different turn. There is no military drama or jargon in this. However, there are some traumatic themes, such as domestic violence – one that includes a death, mention of drug addiction, a drug cartel, and an amputee dealing with a drug addiction relapse. Unlike those two, the only military reference is Phil's past and his teammates.
The only two members returning for an actual appearance are Daniel "Pot Pie" Swanson and Bill "Drumstick" Sanders. Rick Norton is mentioned, having taken a stateside "non-combat" role due to being the son-in-law of the Vice President.
Phil, while finding a new vocation outside of the Army, doesn't feel like the whole man he feels Melissa deserves. However, she wishes that God would help Phill see his wholeness, as well as the fact Melissa does indeed care about him.
However, he can find her sister, who was separated from her when her mother was killed. The problem is that Lola is married to a man in the cartel. Rescuing her sets off a chain reaction in this intense, fast-paced, dramatic, and unpredictable story that even has a hurricane mixed in, along with an unexpected death that left me sobbing. I think I even screamed at one point.
Unlike the second book, where Bridgeman balanced the serious dramatic action with humor, this lacked that element. While Melissa and Phil were open with their feelings and faith, Phil was reluctant to entertain a relationship with Melissa. At one point, Bridgeman highlighted Phil's "vulnerability" with a "fall." It also highlights a reality many medically discharged veterans face.
This book also shows that some do find careers and are not portrayed as the "poor, helpless" vets that some TV shows and movies used to offer.
As this is a Christian-themed publisher, strong elements will be presented of the Christian faith in the characters' lives.
While classified as Romantic Suspense, there was more suspense than romance. This neatly ties up the series – no major cliffhangers or open ends exist. Readers of the previous two books, along with the prequel, definitely need to grab this. As for me, I'm eagerly awaiting what the author has planned next.
Thank you to Revell (a division of Baker Books) for providing a complimentary review copy through Interviews & Reviews. A positive review was not required nor requested. All words are my own.
Reviewer: Joy Hannabass
A five-year-old should never watch violence in her home. But Melissa Braxton watched her father murder her mother and has been disconnected from her younger sister since that day.
Honor's Refuge is a little different than the other books in this series. This one deals with some challenging issues, mainly domestic abuse. After Melissa watched her mom and unborn sibling die, she wanted to help women in the same situations her mom was in, so she opened up a refuge shelter for those in domestic abuse situations, which was doing very well.
Phil was home and never expected to return to his field of service because he had lost one leg. And that does it for him being a whole real man. So he thinks. He and Melissa meet at church and enjoy a few meals, but that's as far as Phill will take it. He did know Melissa's story, though, and wanted to find her sister. But how would this all turn out?
Wow! Honor's Refuge is an amazing read. It is one of the most heart-stopping books I have read in a while. It's like Hallee Bridgeman put everything she had into this third book in this series. The characters, the plot, and the phenomenal writing, all make this such a realistic story. Stuff like this happens in real life, and I felt like I was reading the newspaper.
The twists and turns kept me guessing and turning the pages, and the tensions and emotions were through the roof. This one deals with domestic abuse. Abuse that was so horrific it gave me chills. I wanted to be there at the refuge shelter Melissa started for those dealing with domestic abuse. I wanted to help. But there is a silver lining to it all, and He's called Jesus. Bridgeman does a fabulous job weaving faith and the Christian life into the lives of some of her characters, and it's not in a pushy way. It's wonderfully displayed. Love, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration are clearly seen in the lives of these wonderful characters. This one is for you if you enjoy good suspense and mystery with lots of thrills and chills! Thank you, Hallee Bridgeman, for this amazing read!
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Charity Henico
Oh. My. Goodness. If you haven't started this series yet, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. I thought this book would be another war story, and I admit to being a little disappointed that it wasn't. But there are wars of different kinds all around.
From the prologue, my heart was pounding, and I was hooked. I completely forgot to take quotes for a while. I was so invested in this story. Vested in it? Hmmm. Should look that up.
Moments of heartbreak, ugly crying, heart pounding, heart cracking, literally gasping-they're all in this book. I actually got angry when my children expected me to feed them. Seriously? Why have I not taught the five-year-old how to cook yet??? This was one of those books.
Go get it and let me know what you think!
I received a copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"Why do you have lunch with me every Sunday and breakfast every Thursday?" . . . . .
"Because I enjoy your company. . . . . . Because that is all I have . . . . "
Melissa Braxton refuses to believe that her hero-in-hiding is incapable of seeing past his limitations to realize what a magnificent specimen of God's creation he truly is. Can Phil Osbourne, former Special Forces A-Team soldier, be incredibly gruff and grumpy? Absolutely! Can he ignore that even though he is an incredibly trained army medic and esteemed oral surgeon, he can simply choose to bury those talents underneath a broken perception of himself? Phil seems to be trying awfully hard to do just that. Can Melissa "fix" him? Unfortunately, she cannot. She can love him though . . . . . and wait?
Phil is convinced that Melissa needs someone without the mental and physical baggage that comes with war wounds and past mistakes. But there is someone he can give her on the whereabouts of her younger sister. The girls' painful past resulted from domestic violence. They separated when they were very young after the death of their mother. Melissa has lost all contact with Lola. With the help of his former teammates, Phil locates the young woman, but extracting her from a highly dangerous situation will bring that same degree of danger to the front door of the women's shelter where Melissa works. Is it too risky? Can he protect the woman he holds very dear (without admitting to loving)safe?
What a joy to follow Phil's story to completion! A clear reminder of the words, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." This entire series has been (and will continue to be, for it will be enjoyed again and again) a compelling blend of suspense, romance, and the miracle of divine intervention.
I received a copy of this book from Revell through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Tammy Lunsford
Wow! If I could give this book 10 stars, I would do it. I am emotionally drained after reading the story of Melissa and Phil. Their strength and character are a testament to taking something bad and turning it into something good. This is the third book in the Love and Honor series, and this is my favorite. They are all fantastic, but just something about this book challenged me and hit me in the heart.
Melissa Braxton is only five years old when she witnesses her father brutally beat her pregnant mother to death while Melissa tries to protect her little sister, Lola. Five years old and having to protect your baby sister is enough to make you sob as the reader. The sisters are separated, and Melissa (Missy) has no idea where Lola went. Thankfully, Missy grew up in a good home and grew above her circumstances to become a strong, independent woman.
I loved the character of Missy because of her tenaciousness. Instead of wallowing in self-pity as an adult, Melissa is proactive. She is a family therapist and runs a battered women's shelter. She has made it her life's goal to save as many women and children from the heartache she suffered as a child.
Phil Osbourne (affectionately known as Doctor Oz by his Special Forces teammates) is a very good friend to Missy. Missy would like their relationship to go further, but Phil is reluctant. He lost part of his leg in combat and overcame drug addiction. Therefore, he feels she deserves more in a man. I love Phil. His emotions are so raw and real. I wanted to reach into this book and give him a giant hug. He cares so much for Missy that he enlists the help of some of his Special Forces teammates to find Lola. Unfortunately, Lola is married to a member of the Columbian drug cartels, which will make visitation with her impossible, but Phil will find a way.
This book is full of action and danger around every corner, from trying to outwit criminals to surviving a hurricane. This book was very emotional for me. There were times that I cried and times that I smiled or laughed out loud. The inspirational message was strong and relevant to the story of overcoming the odds. These characters were the type of people we should all strive to be. Missy was a superhero in her own right, and Phil is definitely a superhero.
Hallee Bridgeman is an artist with her writing. When, as a reader, you are completely engrossed in the characters' lives so much that reality and fiction are blurred together, you know the writer is talented. She makes the characters real. They have flaws and strengths. I really wish there was more to come in this series. I love these guys and their kindred fellowship with one another. After reading all three of these books, Hallee Bridgeman has a new fan in me!
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Halle Bridgeman again holds the reader's attention in her third book in the Love & Honor series.
While each book can be read as a standalone, I would urge you to read all of them. I am the type of person who leans toward Historical Romance. But this author has convinced me to read more romantic suspense.
I am astounded by her ability to create not only a compelling narrative but characters that are genuinely real. They accurately portray human strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I will miss them.
A word of warning for those who have experienced abuse of any kind, this book might be a trigger for you. The opening scene had my heart in my throat. But as the book progresses, we get to see how our main character, Melissa Braxton, uses her experience of abuse to help women escape abusive situations. And it doesn't hurt that she has Phil Osburne (who returns from the first book) to help her when things get dangerous.
The story is compelling, and the pace is brisk and vividly rendered. I guarantee you will not be able to put this one down. I highly recommend it!
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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