The Empty Nesters – ARC Review

43713207The Empty Nesters
by Carolyn Brown
Release Date:  August 20, 2019
Publisher:  Montlake Romance
Number of pages:  312
Source: Net Galley ARC
Contemporary Fiction/Chick Lit
Rating: PG-13
Read 8/3/19 to 8/6/19


Dear friends and army wives Diana, Carmen, and Joanie have been through war, rumors of war, marital problems, motherhood, fears, joy, and heartache. But none of the women are prepared when their daughters decide to enlist in the army together. Facing an empty nest won’t be easy. Especially for Carmen. With emotions already high, she suffers an even greater blow: divorce papers. Diana understands the fury and tears. She’s been there.

With nothing to lose and no one at home, the girlfriends impulsively accept an unexpected offer from their elderly neighbor. The recently widowed Tootsie has an RV, a handsome nephew at the wheel, and an aim for tiny Scrap, Texas, to embrace memories of her late husband. Still grieving, she can use the company as a balm for her broken heart. So can the empty nesters.

Embarking on a journey of hope, romance, and healing, Diana, Carmen, and Joanie are at a turning point in their lives. And with the open road ahead of them, it’s just the beginning.

I guess it’s only natural for a writer as established as Carolyn Brown to have a range of hits and misses. I never pass up an opportunity to read one of her books because I never know what I’m going to get.  In this case, I got a touching tale of friendship and perseverance.  The Empty Nesters is a heartwarming story.

There is romance in this book, but that’s not what this story is about.  No, this is a story of women who have stood with each other through raising their daughters practically alone while they’re Army Special Forces husbands took off for months at a time, sometimes with no advance warning.  This is a story of a former Army wife who lived a long and wonderful life with her husband finding a way through her grief when he passes away unexpectedly.  This is a story of moms having to cut the apron strings and allow their daughters to spread their wings, even if the direction the young ladies took wasn’t exactly what these moms planned for their futures.  They’ve banded together in the past when one went through a painful divorce, they’re banding together again when another is served surprise divorce papers and feels like she’s lost at sea.  These ladies are tough, compassionate, resilient, and loving.  They can make it through anything, especially if they stick together.

Being an Army mom and having been a Navy wife for the 10 years my husband was enlisted, I will admit I picked up every little inaccuracy regarding the military when I began this book.  I know that authors often must take creative license with these things in order to serve the story.  As long as things don’t get too crazy and the story is well written, I will often be able to overlook these things.  I’m happy to say that the little tweaks the author made to “real” Army life soon fell by the wayside in my mind as I got more and more engrossed in the lives of these women.  Plus, the characters actually acknowledged some of the issues, like them all staying in the same area for so long.

Like I mentioned earlier, there is romance in this book.  And it’s a sweet, slow-burn kind of romance.  I won’t post names since that will spoil things, but you’ll figure it out pretty quickly.  To add to the new romance, there is an “old” romance with one of the ladies and her husband.  It’s a confusing time for them all with their daughters all leaving for Army Basic Training on the same day, not long after their beloved Smokey passed away and all of the husbands gone on a mission.  As long as these women have been friends, their husbands have been friends even longer and are battle buddies. If one husband is being a jerk and the others are covering for him, what does that mean?  Are any of their marriages safe?  So as things sort themselves out and each lady comes to terms with the new direction her life is leading, there is definitely romance afoot in several different ways.

Be ready to laugh, cry, and get angry along with this group of friends.  You will want to give them each a hug at some point along the journey, that’s for sure.  We would all do well to end up with friends such as these in our lives.

4 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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