Score: 95/100 (9.5 out of 10)
Rosemary for Remembrance by Nikki Broadwell is a very special book. It's nothing like we expected. See, when you approach a World War II novel about a POW, you think you know what you're getting into. We've read enough of these to have a feeling of what's probably going to happen. And, to be honest, we were a bit worried as soon as we read the forward.
We were concerned that the forward would spoil the whole book for us, but it was more like a movie trailer than anything—the book is about far more than a POW during WWII, FAR more. In fact, the whole war only takes up about half of the story. Like Homer's Odyssey, this is ultimately a romance and a drama—a romantic drama—with paranormal elements. In fact, it explores a lot of the same things that Homer's work did—dilemmas like what it means to be a soldier, the roles of husbands & wives, and what connects us (and separates us) as human beings prone to conflict and war. And, yes, you read that earlier part right: this has PARANORMAL elements. In fact, it's a pretty big aspect of the book, and that was a huge surprise to us.
The main female protagonist, the titular Rosemary (“Rosie”), turns out to have ESP. In other words, she's a blooming psychic. Mostly, this takes the shape of surreal dreams connecting her with a version of herself in a past life, Rebecca. These dreams about Rebecca start to become more frequent when her soldier-husband, Dylan, gives her a locket before departing for the Pacific Front to fight the Japanese in World War II. The locket seems to act as a spiritual conduit, a magical object connecting her with Rebecca and her parallel marital struggles in her parallel life.
Rebecca is married to a soldier named Edward, an insufferable jerk of a husband with misogynistic tendencies who constantly belittles Rebecca and considers himself superior to her. Rebecca and Edward serve as the perfect foils for Rosemary and Dylan, the main couple we cheer for. The relationship between Rosemary and Dylan is truly powerful and inspiring, especially when you consider that they're based on real people who were separated during the war.
This is one book that really gets the sex scenes right. We've read so many other books with vivid, detailed, over-the-top, aggressive, in-your-face descriptions of sex. This book doesn't do that. It gets one thing right in that regard: it's tactful. The sex isn't just there for the sake of voyeurism or to be risque, rather it effectively sends the message to the audience/reader that Rosemary and Dylan are two people who really, really, really, truly love each other with a passion. What's more: it sends the message to the audience/reader that these two people trust each other and share a very strong bond. This is especially important when you consider that this very strong bond is about to be pushed to the limit and challenged in several ways, including one that's familiar to every single person who has ever been in a relationship: distance.
There are few things more devastating to relationships than distance. Add to that the potential of one of them being tortured, starving to death, getting typhoid, or being decapitated in a self-dug grave and you have the recipe for an absolute drama-filled, tense book that keeps you turning the pages to figure out what's going to happen next!
Now, this is the third book about a psychic that we've read this past 30 days. It's also the third or fourth World War II novel or memoir we've read this year. Even with all that said, this book still manages to stand out as unique in that it explores so much more than just war. This is about the actual human toll that war takes even on those who've survived or who experience the trauma and uncertainty of war from a distance. Spouses and families of soldiers suffer too. We often overlook that because the bullets aren't flying over their heads, but war can cause tremendous conflict and anxiety at home, away from the front-lines. This book captures that aspect perfectly.
Check this out on Amazon!
Favorite Quote: “This isn't morning sickness. This is all day sickness.”