From the first few pages I knew this was going to be a very serious book. I’ve never read anything any which way related to war or the military so this was a completely new experience for me. Wounded it seems is unlike the previous Jasinda Wilder books I’ve read. It seems to focus heavily on description and character experiences rather than actual conversation.
In the First Gulf War in Iraq 1991, an innocent photographer is killed by a young boy and young girl. Several years later the boy leaves his sister to join the army and the girl is left alone to fend for herself. She has no family, no money, barely any food, and no one to help her. Struggling through the streets she learns that there’s only one way to survive in these harsh times. And that’s to sell her body for money. Rania is an innocent thrust into the cruelties and in justifications of war and prostitution, using it as a means of survival for years. But all of that changes when she meets wounded Hunter Lee on the streets. A marine, a soldier, a loyal man to his country, Hunter has known nothing but the army and of war since he graduated high school. No family, no home, and his only real friend, Derek, he’s about to ship into Iraq for his last tour never once expecting to meet a young Iraqi girl who ends up saving, and changing his life forever.
What I think I LIKE MOST about this book that’s different from many books I’ve previously read is the fact that there’s a communication/language barrier between the two main characters. Not being able to communicate with words is hard, very hard. They have to learn to communicate out of necessity to understand each other, and thank god they’re both intelligent people otherwise this would have NEVER worked for them. Definitely have to give MAJOR PROPS to be able to learn to converse, even simply, in another language after only a few weeks.
Another thing you definitely have to give credit to is Rania, for surviving over a decade doing what she does. It’s not easy. And as much as she hates herself for doing it, she has some shreds of self-respect left for herself. I can’t give away too much, but trust me when I say living in desperate times makes you desperate and I have nothing but respect for what she’s doing in such dire situations.
One thing I don’t like about Hunter, no matter how good he is, no matter how brave or compassionate he is, I HATE his need to be SUCH A MAN! all the time. Maybe that’s the bit of feminist in myself (although I appreciate the chivalrous gesture once in a while), but Rania isn’t useless or helpless. She’s survived this long without him, which doesn’t mean she needs him to function now. I know that chivalry isn’t dead and he was raised right to respect women, cherish and protect them but C’MON if we say we don’t need help, we don’t need it. Unless it’s really bad then we really need help. But as much as a gentleman or an honorable man as he is…Hunter has one SERIOUS temper….
Throughout the book you see a lot of mixed feelings between the two of them. A lot of physical, mental and emotion conflict that’s stopping them from being together. They OBVIOUSLY want each other, but it’s forbidden. Why? Because it’s war-time and he’s American and she’s Iraqi. Thinking about the times, what sort of future would they have had together? But in the end what would it matter if they loved each other? Their attraction for each other is just so strong and so powerful it’s so hard to see them struggle.
Go ahead, the chin lift says, touch me. I dare you.
She cuts me off by pressing her fingers to my lips. Her fingers trail down my chin, my throat, my chest, my stomach, halting at the fly of my BDU pants. I realize once again she’s trying to go about this how she thinks I expect it. It can’t go that way. This should be about her. I take her fingers in mine and move them away, place her palm on my cheek. Her brow wrinkles in confusion.
Rania and Hunter’s relationship isn’t like a normal relationship either. He has to teach her English, teach her to be free, to be a person of her own mind, to love and express herself, and believe me it isn’t an easy thing to do. It will take time but with proper love and kindness that he shows her I’m sure their love goes very far. Besides after everything they’ve been through, the war, the wounds, fighting for her, fighting for each other, what is patience when you can have forever with someone you love?
My heart pounds like a drum in my chest. I want to let the towel fall, I want to tell him to show me how to make love to him.
I sigh with happiness and contentment as I finished this book. It was definitely fast, definitely a little rushed especially towards the end, and A LOT of unanswered questions, but Rania and Hunter’s passion for each other definitely make up for it. I definitely think the book could have been a bit longer… Just to explain and tie up some of the loose ends, but that’s just extra. It’s all about our loves and the lives they’ve lived and will live together, at the end of it all they both deserve great happiness.
4/5 Hearts of Love