Beyond Coincidenceby Jacquie Underdown (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Harlequin Enterpises AU on 2014-09-01
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Magic Realism Romance, Romance
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Mixing romance, history, and a touch of the unexplained in a new novel from Jacquie Underdown about love that needs to cross oceans and time before finding a place to come true.
In 2008, 250 Australian and British soldiers are uncovered in a mass grave in Fromelles, France, lost since the Great War. One soldier, bearing wounds of war so deep it scarred his soul, cannot be laid to rest just yet.
When Lucy bumps into the achingly sad soldier during a trip to France, she doesn’t, at first glance, realise what he is – a ghost who desperately needs her help. Lucy can’t turn away from someone who needs her, even someone non-corporeal, and they travel back together to Australia in search of answers and, hopefully, some peace.
This chance meeting and unexplainable relationship sets into motion a chain-reaction of delicate coincidences that affect the intertwined lives of family, friends, and lovers in unexpected, beautiful ways.
Fresh out of a three-year relationship, Lucy quits her job and takes a vacation alone to France to find herself and forget her ex-boyfriend Jason. While visiting an historic WWI battlefield where Australian soldiers lost their lives and were buried in a mass grave, Lucy unknowingly meets the ghost of one of the deceased soldiers named Freddy. He wants Lucy to help him get his bones identified, but he has no idea how to do this. Freddy travels back to Australia with Lucy, and she tracks down his only remaining relative–his great-grandson Nate–with the hopes of getting him to contact the Army to submit a DNA sample for comparison to the remains in France. When Lucy meets Nate for the first time, the proverbial sparks fly, and their story begins.
This was such a lovely romance between Lucy and Nate. It certainly wasn’t love at first sight, and their first meeting was anything but pleasant and left neither one with a great first impression of the other. But there was an undeniable draw between the both of them that made them want to work together, to be friends first and work towards something more. Lucy’s determined attitude and calm, caring nature made her a perfect fit for Nate’s cautious yet protective personality.
This story is part history, part romance, and part paranormal, and this mix worked really well, making for a lovely, entertaining book that had my emotions all over the place along with the characters. I quite enjoyed learning a bit about Australia’s part in World War I. The Australian setting and slang weren’t too foreign to make the story unapproachable or distracting to me as an American, and there was even a handy glossary defining the colloquialisms from the early 20th century Australia.
Freddy’s story was the most heart breaking to me. Dying on the battlefield before he could return to his wife and unborn child, only to become conscious again when his remains were disturbed almost a century later to find the world very different. But he discovers that Lucy can see him and hear him, and she just happens to live in the same city that he came from. Freddy didn’t believe in coincidences, so he knew that Lucy was the key to getting things that he needs to happen that will bring him peace. But he also knows that some other things are meant to be set in motion that are bigger than himself, and letting things happen naturally is the only way to go.
I give Beyond Coincidence a 4.5 out of 5. The writing was phenomenal and emotional. I felt like I was at the battlefields in France and touring the different places in Australia even though I’ve never been there. The heart breaking love story between Freddy and his wife and Freddy’s story in general had me tearing up all throughout the book, yet Freddy remained such a hopeful, positive presence in Lucy’s life. Lucy and Nate’s journey wasn’t easy, but everything was brought together along with Freddy’s story in such an uplifting and positive way in the end that left me knowing that nothing is left to coincidence. Everything happens for a reason.
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Jacquie Underdown’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, September 15th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, September 18th: Reading Reality
Friday, September 19th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, September 22nd: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, September 24th: Back Porchervations
Monday, September 29th: 2 Kids and Tired Books
Tuesday, September 30th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, October 1st: Mom in Love with Fiction
Monday, October 6th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, October 8th: Great Minds Read Alike
Monday, October 13th: Books Like Breathing