April 27, 2012

Review: Back in the Soldier’s Arm by Soraya Lane

This is one of the books I mentioned on my post about cheating heroes. The reason I read it was because I was curious. Hero infidelity is one of the most hated themes in romance and I thought it was interesting that there was a Harlequin Romance that directly dealt with the subject.

Danny and Penny have the perfect marriage, or at least that’s how it seems. They have been together for years, have a five-year-old daughter, and truly and deeply love each other. They both were in the military, but when it was time to retire Danny was the only one able to do it because Penny’s deployment was extended by the Stop-Loss policy. So she went back to war leaving her family behind. Danny was left alone with their daughter dealing with the life and responsibilities of a single dad, learning to adjust to civilian life and worrying about his wife. He didn't cope well and ended up having a drunken one-night stand, which he immediately confessed to Penny.

The book opens with Penny coming back for just a week to celebrate their daughter’s birthday. She has no idea how to deal with the infidelity, but she must do it because they don’t want to ruin the party. Danny, who is deeply repentant, feels that this week will decide their future and her wants to do anything he can in order to win her forgiveness. Needless to say, this won’t be a fun week.

This wasn’t a happy book, and it wasn’t easy to read. However, I liked it very much. There are many things a person can do to hurt their partner, and infidelity tops them all. But the fact that cheating is bad doesn’t mean that every infidelity is the same. So here we have a guy who was deeply confused, worried and at a crossroads. He left the navy and didn’t know how to be a civilian, didn’t even know if being a civilian was what he really wanted, his wife wasn’t there to help him and he also had the great responsibility of being a dad. And one day he made a mistake. Was he a bad guy? No. There’s no redemption from him, but what about forgiveness? That’s what Penny must figure out.

I really liked Penny and I deeply felt for her. She had to deal with Danny, but also with their daughter. This is a child that hasn’t seen her mother in months and who’s used to her father, so when her mother comes she wants nothing to do with her. The infidelity hurts her but her daughter’s rejection devastates her. And she only has one week to figure out what to do about it all. Fortunately, she has the support of her in-laws, who love her and worry about her, and who make brief but remarkable secondary characters (maybe the brother will have his own book).

The main conflict comes from the fact that Penny may forgive and understand Danny, but she doesn’t know if she will be able to forget. Every time they take a step closer towards solving the issue, she pictures him with the other woman. The complexity of the situation wasn’t glossed over and that’s why I found the story so interesting.

In the end, there’s a happy ending, a believable one. My main issue is that everything gets resolved too fast, one week isn’t enough time to talk things over, she doesn’t forgive him immediately, but that week is key. 

This story is not for everyone, Danny isn’t a great hero, but he was real. There’s a lot of groveling, talking and crying. And if you don’t like angst then you will hate this book. But if you feel like taking a chance and reading a different story with a different take on infidelity and a cheating hero that isn’t a villain, then go for it.

Review by Brie
Grade: 4
Sensuality: McDreamy
Purchase: Amazon


To the outside world, Daniel and Penny Cartwright have it all—a lovely home, a beautiful daughter, successful military careers and a rock-solid marriage. But when Daniel makes a reckless mistake, the foundations of their marriage are shaken. Now he's got to act fast to keep hold of his precious wife. 
Daniel launches a campaign to win Penny back: he has just a week to do whatever it takes to make her fall in love with him all over again.

Harlequin. March 6, 2012.


  1. Excellent review, Brie. I think you summed it best with this sentence:

    "But the fact that cheating is bad doesn’t mean that every infidelity is the same."

    I think everyone is human. Yes, cheating is bad and it sucks... but I think it's not the same having a drunken one-night stand and being a serial cheater or having an emotional attachment.

    I skimmed through the movie, The Vow, and in it, someone had an affair... and the wife stayed and she said: I didn't leave because of the one thing he did wrong, I stayed because of all the things he did right.

    If the heroine can forgive the hero and it's not going to happen again, I think it's worth a shot trying to save what they have.

    I'm still not sure whether I want to pick this book up though ^_^;

    1. I don't blame you for having doubts about the book. Lots of people on the H&H post commented about how romance is about fairy tales and escapism and that cheating doesn't belong to those worlds. And it is a painful subject so you have to be on the right mood for it.

  2. I would have a hard time reading this one. I don't like cheaters in my romance novels :) Great review.

    1. I don't like them either, but I was curious about this one so I decided to give it a try. It's different to any other "cheaters" books I've read and I really felt sorry for the hero. But as I said, not for everyone! ;-P

  3. Thanks for the review! Thought I'd mention that the hero's brother does have his own story ... The Navy Seal's Bride is out in the US in August, or June in the UK :) Soraya

    1. I knew it! I liked him so much, I glad he's getting a book, hopefully it won't be as angsty as this one! *grins* Looking forward to reading it, I'll add it to mi Amazon wish list so I don't forget to get it once it's out!!

  4. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.


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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.