Faithful Valor


Fiction - LGBTQ
230 Pages
Reviewed on 12/10/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Faithful Valor by Isabella is a military suspense romance that follows Colonel Nicole (Nic) Caldwell and the life she is attempting to rebuild after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter of which left her scarred both physically and mentally. The book is narrated through three points of view: Nic, her former comrade CeCe, and Nic's wife Claire. Set in Monterey, California where Nic and Claire live with their daughter Grace, Nic is adapting to life after her trauma in the hopes of teaching. On Nic's advice, Cece relocates from Los Angeles to Monterey to work as a university cop—at the same school where Claire is a student—in the hopes of taking her daughter, Melita, out of the gang-infested environment she's growing up in. On a trip to a local mini-mart, Nic has a violent encounter with two Marines that live on the nearby base. The confrontation kicks off a series of events that explode when one of the PFCs sets out for revenge against Nic, determined to take from her what he believes was taken from him: everything.

I don't even know where to start, to be honest. Faithful Valor is an excellent book that deftly balances multiple themes with an intriguing plot and subplots. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, suicide, rehabilitation, family issues, romance...it's all there, wrapped up in a tension-filled LGBTQ page-turner. A standout for me was the fact that this book featured three strong female protagonists and exactly zero men coming to the rescue. The relationship between Nic and Claire has all of the right swoon components and relationship goals we look for in a romance, with a layered understanding of Nic's health. All three have unique voices, written crisply by Isabella with the skilled hand of a seasoned author. The climax is explosive and vivid with the scenery coming to life, catapulting our wounded warrior from the darkness of PTSD, so severe that it causes blackouts, into the light.

K.C. Finn

Faithful Valor is an LGBTQ work of fiction for adults and was penned by author Isabella. The story is about Nic Caldwell, a former soldier struggling to settle into her home life with the PTSD she developed after a tour in Afghanistan. Her partner Claire and friend Cece face their own challenges as they support Nic in her transition to civilian life, especially after fate deals Nic a new threat to her home life. What follows is an excellent and compelling work of drama with plenty of different challenges which the characters face, both emotional and physical, as they readjust to life in the civilian world.

Author Isabella presents a truly unique perspective on returning soldiers in this slice of life told from a different viewpoint, including LGBTQ issues which are so often left out or glossed over in stories in the military drama genre. I really liked all three of the central female characters, and though the action largely revolves around Nic, all three of them have realistic portrayals and it’s clear to see the author has worked hard on their presentation and realism throughout the tale. The dialogue was also compelling, with a plot structure that builds slowly and steadily to some really interesting conclusions about the struggles of everyday life, especially when one has to deal with PTSD from active service. Overall, Faithful Valor is a highly recommended read for fans of strong female leads, LGBTQ fiction and military drama stories with truly memorable emotional arcs.

Rabia Tanveer

Faithful Valor by Isabella is a story of love, finding peace and coming back home. Claire Monroe had missed Nic a lot. Nic and Claire had a beautiful daughter that they both loved dearly, but when Nic was deployed to Afghanistan, she knew this was going to be a tough time for their little family. Now Nic is back, she is finally where she belongs, and Claire cannot wait to start their lives. But Nic is not all right, she is trying to fight the demons of her last deployment and her PTSD is catching up to her. She is trying to give her family the best life, but it is hard. Finding her rhythm is becoming harder than she thought, but she wants to fight for her family. Can she break free from her past and embrace her present and future. Can Claire and Nic find their happily ever after as they hoped to?

This is such a beautiful novel about finding a home, accepting yourself and how the support of your friends and family can help you get back on your feet. Nic and Claire have a beautiful relationship; they support each other, become involved in each other’s lives and simply ensure that the other is comfortable. Nic is such a complicated character, she is strong yet she is so vulnerable. The best thing about her is that she is not afraid to show her vulnerability to Claire; she knows Claire will never judge her and that makes their relationship very beautiful. The author touched on some topics that needed to be talked about and she did them justice. The flow was surprisingly soothing and exceptionally well-crafted. I was invested in their story from the get-go and enjoyed it.

Deborah Lloyd

On the surface, it appears that Nic Caldwell, her wife, Claire Monroe, and their daughter Grace are living a good life in Monterey Bay, California. However, Nic is dealing with physical and emotional difficulties after her last tour of duty in Afghanistan. Cece Ramirez, who recently retired from the Army and moved to the area from Los Angeles, accepted a position as a police officer at Cal State Monterey Bay. She has reconnected with Nic and Claire. Nic has participated in a veterans’ support group dealing with PTSD but was considering dropping out. A traumatic event was awaiting her within the supposed safety of the group’s meeting place in a church basement, and Cece played a major role in ending the danger. In Faithful Valor, written by Isabella, returning to family life after serving in a combat zone is realistically portrayed.

The book has three main characters – Nic, Claire and Cece – and each one is a strong, determined, complex woman. While Nic is struggling with PTSD, she is supported fully by her spouse whose understanding and acceptance is a healing balm for her. The author has portrayed their relationship from both points of view, adding insights to how each one is dealing with their new reality. She also depicts the sexism and other prejudices that still exist in the military. Her writing is clear and concise, and there is a smooth flow between retelling the past and living in the present. Author Isabella has written a current-day novel in Faithful Valor. It is an engaging story and will educate many readers about the difficulties of combat veterans who face many challenges after returning home.

Christian Sia

Faithful Valor by Isabella is a beautiful novel with military and romance themes, featuring a well developed female protagonist. Nic Caldwell is back home after her most recent military tour in Afghanistan. While life should be normal now that she is home, adjusting is a new challenge for her as she is plagued by PTSD. However, she receives the support of Claire Monroe who is just too happy to have her back. While everything seems perfect, life isn't normal for the couple. When the lives of her family are threatened she has to make an unusual decision and find support in a very challenging moment.

Faithful Valor is a well-written novel with vivid imagery. I enjoyed the way the author explores the LGBTQ themes in the novel. The writing is gorgeous in its descriptions and dialogues. The story is emotionally strong and psychologically rich and readers will love to explore the psyche of the protagonist. She is a character that quickly wins the sympathy of the reader. The way she is written also deepens the realism in the story. While this is a novel that follows the life of an ex-combatant trying to adjust to normal life, it has a message about the effects of war on an individual. Isabella has a gift for character and I loved how Nic Caldwell's past is reflected in her current experience and in the way she relates to others. The novel is fast-paced, balanced, and deftly written.