Nineteen-year-old war veteran Lucas Santiago has a goal—to kiss a girl below Northern Lights—but that dream was blown up with the rest of his life. Lucas is grappling with the knowledge that he’ll never walk again when he learns his best friend, Seth, hasn’t returned from his solo trek through Scotland. If Seth doesn’t report back soon, he’s risking an AWOL charge that could end his military career. But what’s Lucas supposed to do about that? Lucas has no desire to leave the house, let alone brave a foreign country in a wheelchair, following bizarre clues Seth left behind. But Lucas’s sister, Gabi—who has feelings for Seth—won’t take no for an answer. The one thing Lucas never expects when he agrees to Gabi’s harebrained scheme is meeting Skye, a young British veteran with a traumatic past of her own. Skye also has unwavering confidence and a thirst for adventure—qualities Lucas sorely lacks as he struggles to adjust to his new life. The trio sets off on a road trip to search for Seth in the Scottish Highlands, where it becomes clear to Lucas that if he ever hopes to win the heart of an irresistible force like Skye, he’ll need to resurrect the fearless fighter he used to be. He’s falling hard for Skye, but can he again fall in love with life? BELOW NORTHERN LIGHTS is a companion spin-off to BENEATH WANDERING STARS and can be read as a stand-alone or sequel.
Below Northern LightsFeatured
Lucas Santiago is injured war veteran and as a result of his injuries, has ended up in a wheelchair. In ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’ Lucas’ sister, Gabi, and best friend, Seth, hike the Santiago de Compostela. They do this since Lucas can no longer fulfill his dream of hiking it on his own.
‘Below Northern Lights’ is a sequel to, ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’. I hadn’t previously read ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’ but I was able to understand everything that was happening in ‘Below Northern Lights’. ‘Below Northern Lights’ picks up where ‘Beneath Wondering Stars’ essentially leaves off. Seth is missing in Scotland. Gabi and Lucas travel to there along with Lucas’ service dog to find Seth. While there Lucas meets a British war veteran name Skye and falls hard for her.
I really did like the premise of this story. A disabled veteran goes tracking across Scotland in search of his war buddy. For me the story ended up being ok. I really enjoyed learning pieces of Scottish history and landmarks along the way. I found the characters to be a little on the flat side. Especially Gabi. Her character just seemed a little dry and uninteresting to me. I did like Skye. She was, by far, my favorite character. I did also enjoy Lucas’ and Skye’s slow burn romance. It was sweet if not predictable. I found some things in the storyline a little too convenient such as Lucas having friends who can set him up with a super-duper all terrain wheelchair and RV, free of charge in Scotland. This made the story feel a little contrived.
The story did wrap up nicely and I did enjoy ‘Below Northern Lights.’ To me it read like a fun quick short story and less like a mystery/adventure. I would recommend ‘Below Northern Lights’ as a great summer read and would also recommend for those that would like a contemporary Scottish adventure story.
Lucas is confined to a wheelchair and may never walk again after being injured in the line of duty. The one person he wants with him - his best friend, Seth - hasn't returned from a trek through Scotland and is at risk of going AWOL. With the help of his sister, it's up to Lucas to find his buddy thinking he's going to save him. But through a series of clues and an odd girl who joins the adventure, maybe it's Seth who is saving Lucas.
What I loved:
We get quite a bit of Gabi in this book. She's Lucas' sister and fell in love with Seth in the book that came before this and she's such a fun and vibrant character. She balances the more serious, kind of sad demeanor of her brother. Skye, our lovely love interest, serves a similar role. She breathes life into Lucas just by living. Everyone around him is designed to help him take control of his life again.
The writing is phenomenal with incredible depth. Scotland comes to life right before our very eyes. It's truly a magical place and every bit of that magic is held within these pages.
The theme of family is one that can't be overlooked. Everyone cares about each other so much. They'll do anything for each other. It's inspiring. It gives us glimpses into the dynamic between soldiers and the bond created by shared experiences and sacrifices.
What was just okay: Lucas and Skye's chemistry was sweet, but not off the charts. It takes some time to warm up to Lucas.
A beautiful story of love, friendship, family, and the long struggle of finding yourself again when you've lost something so vital. The words speak to the soul ... and urge the body towards Scotland.