Gunny by MariaLisa deMora
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have been anticipating this book from the moment Gunny picked Sharon up and refused to let her go in Jase. And in typical deMora fashion, the author made it worth every moment between then and now. Consistent with the prior books in the series, we meet Gunny when he was Gunnery Sergeant Lane Robinson before he joined the Rebel Wayfarers MC. Back when his military career was coming to an end as he was the only surviving man on his team after an ambush attack. An attack he barely survived and spent 3 weeks getting to safety only be sent home on a medical discharge. Needless to say, PTSD was one of many themes found in Gunny and as the story plays out, we learn that Gunny is not the only one experiencing it.
I love how deMora takes the time to introduce the reader to Gunny, showing us how his life since the military has brought him to the Rebel Wayfarers MC and how the club filled a hole in him that his discharge from the military had left. While there are many instances in the series where the timelines of the books overlap, it’s never a recycling of scenes. In this case, I got to see a bit more of DeeDee’s life before she lost her husband and daughter and how important of a person Gunny was to their lives even when so few of the club members felt as if they “knew” him. What little we learned of Gunny in Jase demonstrated how closed off the man was, so it was nice to see how Deke sponsored him into the club and made the effort to befriend Lane, learning his triggers and doing his best to insure that Lane was successful in the club. The conversations between Deke and Mason regarding Lane provide a good measure of the man and I liked how Deke’s faith in Lane urged Mason to get to know Lane better and foster a friendship with the man who eventually became Gunny. While we’re almost a third of the way into the book before Gunny and Sharon’s scenes from Jase play out, fans of the series will recognize the events leading up to it and I for one appreciated that even the few places where the scenes overlapped, seeing them presented from Gunny’s perspective gave them an entirely different feel than we got from Jase.
I give deMora massive kudos for the snippet scenes that served to introduce Sharon’s history. Despite the first few scenes being extremely short, the author manages to pack so much emotion into the scenes that I felt Sharon’s fear and hopelessness at the hands of her husband. With just a few words and well-placed scenes, the author illustrated how non-military personnel can develop PTSD and how it can be just as devastating for them. That Sharon saw Gunny as safe rather than someone to fear made his visceral reaction to her that much more significant. Because of their damaged pasts, their instant bond does not make for an insta-love situation even if Gunny did move her into his house as soon as possible. Theirs is a relationship built on trust, safety, and protectiveness and while neither is willing to let the other out of their life, they are slow to recognize when love enters their relationship as both expect the other to leave them eventually. While you can probably get away with reading Gunny as a standalone, I really advise reading Jase first at the bare minimum but the entire series is well worth the read as the Rebel Wayfarers MC has an increasingly complex series theme building in the background that will make the book more meaningful when read in order. Gunny was everything I hoped for and more and I am excited that it brings us one book closer to Mason’s story as I’m looking forward to his book even more than I was Gunny’s.
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
Check out the Gunny by MariaLisa deMora blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.
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