REVIEW: Five Years Gone by Marie Force

Posted September 27th, 2018 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, HJ Recommends, Military Romance, Review / 4 comments


In Five Years Gone by Marie Force, As horrifying as it was to watch the scenes from the terrorist attack on an American cruise ship five years ago, which killed thousands, Ava Lucas had no idea at the time that the idyllic life she’d been living with John West would also shatter. Being a military guy, he was immediately deployed for parts unknown and for an unknown length of time. So as Ava spends her days frightened and feeling helpless, worrying more and more over no contact from John, she gives herself five years before she will force herself to move on. When that day comes, though, as she moves from San Diego to NYC, Ava’s not sure if it’s the right decision. Or if she’ll ever truly get over not knowing what happened to John. Even when the unthinkable happens and she finds herself slowly falling in love with a man she meets at her sister Camille’s wedding.

‘I had good reason to wonder if I’d ever be content again. But then I met Eric, and one small step at a time, he has helped get me to the point where this is possible. I’m incredibly thankful to him for being exactly who and what I need.’

Eric Tilden fell for Ava pretty much from the first time they met, at his brother Rob’s wedding. Being at a low point in his own life, he recognized a sadness in Ava that he understood all to well. Pursuing her was not something Eric actively thought about. He just felt better whenever they hung out, getting to know each other as friends. But by the time Ava finally confides in him about her past, he’s already so far gone he can’t imagine life without her. As she struggles to get past the guilt and grief from the last five years spent in limbo, Eric will do his best to help Ava through it all. And he can only hope that once it’s all said and done, they will have managed to build the life together they’ve both dreamed of without any interruptions from her past.

‘I want it all with her, and I’m terrified that this man from her past is going to come back and take her away from me.’

A gut-wrenching emotional roller coaster, Five Years Gone was an incredibly moving novel about the sacrifices we make for the ones we love.

‘This fight, the fight for the love of my life, is the most important fight of all.’

I’m going to be honest. I was a bit wary going into this, knowing it was going to be super emotional and would likely have me alternately crying and yelling at the characters. (lol) But I am SO glad I read Ava’s story. Because even though there were multiple POVs and I felt like we really go to know Eric, Camille and some others along the way, this was truly about Ava and the impossible situation she found herself in. My heart went out to her for spending five years of not knowing what happened to John, the love of her life up until that point. The sad thing is that obviously this is something that does happen in real life to those with loved ones in the military. Where they go off on a mission for goodness knows how long and those who are stateside have no idea where they are or if they’re okay. And that part of it brought this home for me, having family members, past and present, tied to the military (Navy) as well.

Just like all of Marie Force’s work I’ve read over the years, to me this was character driven. I adore how she gets right to the crux of the matter and doesn’t skip over the deeper, darker emotions, having her characters go through it all with a raw honesty that is tangible for her readers. And that’s exactly what Ava and Eric, among others, dealt with. I really connected with Ava, with the loyalty she felt for John for so many years and then the guilt she felt for finally attempting to move on. She was reserved around most people, not necessarily shy, but was private about her struggle. I think Force did a fantastic job of showing what it took for Ava to move forward in a healthy way and how she handled the setbacks that happened. Eric was a huge part of her healing process and I just adored him. What a great hero. He was thoughtful and kind without being a pushover. And given that he’d been through his own heartbreak in the past year, Eric understood not only where Ava was coming from, but also how lucky he was to have found her and the wonderful connection they shared. *dreamy sigh*

I do want to mention that there was a spinoff novel announced at the end of this book, about a character from this story. I won’t give the details away as it is not on Goodreads at the time I’m writing this review, but it’s not too difficult to piece together who it will be about… And I am definitely looking forward to digging in to it.

Talk about a book that will pull at your heartstrings, tear you apart and put you back together again. Five Years Gone was thoughtful, heartbreaking, inspiring and full of a wide range of genuine emotions that will surely draw readers in. Highly recommended.


Book Info:

Publication: Published September 25th 2018 | b HTJB, Inc. |

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.

93,000 words/400 pages



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