- Title: Gooseberry Island
- Author: Steven Manchester
- Format: Paperback 300 pages
- Publisher: The Story Plant
- Published: 22 January 2015
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Spiritual Fiction
- ISBN 10: 1611881803
- ISBN 13: 9781611881806
- Source: Gifted for Review
- Buy: The Book Depository|Amazon|Nook
In an apple core (The Bookworm’s version of a nutshell)
A romantic read that teaches you about the power of love and hope and the seriousness of mental illness.
They met at the worst possible moment…or maybe it was just in time.
David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before — including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty? Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.
In Gooseberry Island, we meet David, who on the brink of getting shipped off to Afghanistan to serve a tour, realises that the girl he’s with is shallow and not at all the type he’d want to spend the rest of his life with. He’s full of excitement at getting the chance to serve his country and has worked very hard to get to where he is now. On the other side of the Island, we’re introduced to Lindsey, who knows the hardships of having a war veteran for a father. Having been attacked on several occasions during her father’s flashbacks from his time during the war, she knows all too well how PTSD can affect a person as well as the people around them. And that serving your country sometimes comes at a very steep price, not matter how noble the action.
Just before David leaves for his year of servitude, he meets Lindsey on the beach. Their bond is instantaneous and romantic, like two halves of a whole. Their intense chemistry leads them to a year-long series of exchanging mail via both modern technology and traditional letter-writing. This part at least had a very happy tone to it, as David generates thoughts of hope and survival, just so that he can reunite with Lindsey once his term is up.
But all good things must sometimes come to an end. David is faced with some very horrific experiences that he can’t even bring himself to share with Lindsey despite their ever-growing closeness. And over on Gooseberry Island, Lindsey thought that all was peachy and that David would return to her unharmed in any way. Little did she know that history would repeat itself, and that David would have to brave the same demons her father still struggles with.
After the war, David’s entire personality takes a 180 turn from a very easy-going and likeable person to one wracked with guilt and despair. He suffers from depression and PTSD, a serious condition that a lot of people who’ve seen war suffer from. And it is through his love for Lindsey that he finds the courage to wage war on his own battles.
This is Steven Manchester’s genius, by touching on such sensitive subjects in a relatable way. He makes readers feel as if they’re going through what the characters go through. And he brings to light the importance of providing PTSD sufferers with the support they need through this story and its characters. This book is not just for those who have experienced PTSD, be it directly or indirectly, but also for everyone who enjoys a book of substance that speaks of a true life lesson.
Steven Manchester is the published author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (the holiday prequel to Goodnight, Brian). He has also written Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
Check out Steven’s other books: