Matt & Zoe by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Published by Cincinnatus Press on February 11, 2016
Amazon • Goodreads
When Army Sergeant Zoe Welch learns of the tragic death of her parents in a car accident, she has one concern: the care of her eight-year-old sister Jasmine. Once discharged from the Army, Zoe travels home from Tokyo to a life she never planned on.
Matt Paladino is Jasmine's 3rd grade teacher. Handsome and athletic, Matt's deeply concerned about Jasmine's welfare. But Matt has secrets, hidden in the dark three-ring circus of his past.
When Matt and Zoe's lives collide, they seem made for each other. But will the pasts that haunt them both keep them apart?
I struggled with Matt and Zoe. While I loved the premise, I felt like it lacked oomph. Zoe is discharged from the military after her parents death. She’s sent home to care for her young sister. Matt is Jasmine’s third grade teacher. He’s got an interesting background, one that not only affects who he is, it’s also the cause of his nightmares.
I love that Charles Sheehan Miles uses his talent for writing to bring to light the realness of what today’s soldiers endure. In this case its Zoe, a female MP (military police) who spent time in Iraq. He doesn’t shy away from issues of sexism, misconceptions, nor the very real traumatizing dangerous situations female and male soldiers face every day. My father was in the Army. I totally got it. I remember his view on women in the military. I know that if he were alive today he’d probably still feel like a female in the military should never see the front lines. He thought women to be inferior in that regard. He didn’t mean any harm it was just his reality. He’d been to Vietnam after all. I’m sure he saw things, no I know he saw things he would never want anyone much less a woman to have to remember. I’m so happy that Mr. Sheehan Miles took that on and then some.
So while I love that the author chose this platform for Zoe, I thought Matt’s story overshadowed Zoe’s and therefore left her flat. Matt’s personality was perfect for Zoe and I think his background did lend to a mutual understanding. However Matt worked through his demons while I felt Zoe did not. She can’t be “fixed” over night. There’s no healing moment that can happen. Zoe’s character is forever defined by her experiences. That alone should have been enough for her character, except she also has to grieve her parents, take on raising her sister, and sort out her new life. And explore a relationship with Matt. I kept thinking that this story didn’t need romance. Even though it wasn’t heavy on the romance it still could have played out without it. I would have been just fine with Matt and Zoe being friends. Or even this being a story about Zoe and her sister.
I liked this story, I love Charles Sheehan Miles writing and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*