A list of romance novels featuring wounded warriors; veterans who brought the war home; military heroes with PTSD.
A quick look at a calendar will show you Veterans Day is fast approaching. It’s a day dedicated to honoring those who’ve served in the military and recognizing the sacrifices they’ve made. Another important part of the day is increasing awareness regarding the struggles faced by those returning home and realizing that sometimes they bring the war home with them.
This is a list of romance novels featuring heroes who are struggling return to civilian life. Incorporating a topic as sensitive and multifaceted as PTSD in a romance novel isn’t easy. Giving the character an identity outside of their trauma and taking care not to minimize, glamorize, or romanticize a serious and debilitating disorder is of the utmost importance.
I’ve read more than my fair share of wounded warrior romance novels over the years. Some are certainly better than others. It’s quite a treasured treat when an author can express the heroes pain as well as the heroines love and wrap it in a bow of resiliency, strength, and healing. When an author can show the ugly, painful parts of the disorder and do it with compassion and respect, the book is a winner for me.
Every book on this list features a military hero who lost a part of himself in the war. While they all deal with painful subject matter they all have underlying themes of resiliency, hope and the healing power of love. As utterly heartbreaking as many of these stories are, I’m sure they will leave you with a smile on your face and hope in your heart.
Military Heroes with PTSD
Her Forbidden Hero Laura Kaye
This profoundly emotional and uplifting read introduces us to our tortured here, Marco. Haunted by his past in the army he’s understandably angry, confused and unwilling to let anyone see his pain. Especially his best friends little sister, Alyssa.
Ms. Kaye perfectly captures Marco’s attempts to keep his pain hidden and Alyssa’s helplessness in her desire to aid his healing. It shows the ups and downs, the back and forth that happens when you love someone who is unable to love himself.
Forever a Soldier by Genevieve Turner *** Free on Amazon
This lively tale introduces us to Hank and Lale. Hank returned from the war with some troubles. He’s fearful and agitated, he doesn’t want to be around anyone. All he wants to do is take care of his house and live a quiet secluded life.
We’re treated to a lesson on the power of trust and persistence. Watching a Lale worked to gain Hanks trust and witnessing Hank lower his defenses was beautiful. Hank doesn’t suffer from PTSD, his condition is similar and problematic in many of the same ways, but different. His healing journey was one of the most memorable parts of this book for me.
Broken and Crushed by Lauren Layne
*** This is a duet. The first book, Broken, ends on a big of cliff hanger. I would strongly encourage you to read both and in the proper order. I know it’s a bit of a commitment, but you won’t be disappointed, I promise.
Olivia is holding onto a lot of secrets and guilt. She takes a job helping a veteran re-enter society as a form of penance. Paul has no interest in rejoining society. With an ultimatum preventing Paul from kicking her out like he has so many caretakers before her, they’re stuck with each other. As much as Paul tries to push her away, Olivia is stubborn and she’s not going to make it easy for him.
Ms. Layne weaves nightmares, secrets and hope to tell this tale of love and redemption. She even throws in an important lesson about communication that few people seem to know but everyone can benefit from.
Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy
This story of love and loss will take you on an emotional roller coaster. This book gives us a gritty, realistic and harsh glimpse into the realities of war and the mark it leaves on those who serve. You will need kleenex for this one. This book will leave you with an understanding not only of how war affects those fighting but also the family and friends left behind.
I’m not going to lie, this book had a lot of aspects I don’t typically enjoy in my reading. However, the love and resiliency we see between our hero and heroine more than makeup for the other shortcomings.
Teach Me to Touch You by Joshua Landon
This is a different take on recovering from or rather coping with PTSD. It’s not a pretty story, it shares the bits and pieces mental illness that are often ignored. The parts that don’t make for a good love story. So often PTSD is presented as little more than nightmares and guilt. Mr. Landon did a wonderful job of illustrating just how all-encompassing this psychological injury can be and layered it with a heartbreaking lesson on how difficult the transition to civilian life can be.
Teach me to Touch you is the story of a young man with a terribly tragic past who joined the military essentially as a means of escaping. The structure and discipline required to thrive in that environment were comforting for him. But what happens when the military no longer needs him?
Wrecked by J. B. Salsbury
This romance is dark and gritty. It’s the story of Aden, a man unable to trust himself, much less anyone else and Sawyer, who is trying to come out of her shell and live life to the fullest. We’re given glimpses into the realities of returning to civilian life
With one of the most honest and realistic depictions of PTSD I’ve read, Ms. Salsbury lets us see the good, the bad and the ugly in every aspect of the book. You will need kleenex for this one, maybe pick up an extra box, this book caused a lot of emotions. But like every book I recommend, the book does have a happy ending.
No Pain, No Gain by Ari McKay
*** This cover is a bit much to display so if you’re interested in this one here is the Goodreads Page**
This is a very different take on PTSD and it’s treatment. Like every other book it illustrates the healing powers of love but does it in a unique way. With some tough love, intense emotions and more trust than I ever imagined could be packed between two covers this book won’t disappoint.
This is an MM romance geared toward adult readers who don’t mind explicit content. While I appreciated the unique way the author handled the hero’s PTSD, it’s not a book for everyone.
There you have it a list of books featuring wounded warriors; heroes with PTSD. Each author handled the subject matter with the compassion and respect it is due. I absolutely recommend all of them.
Have a book you think would fit on this list? Let me know in the comments, I can’t wait to read it.