by: Ashlee Cowles
Published by:Independently Published
Format: Mobi (Kindle file)
Source: Author (via YA Books Central)
Nineteen-year-old war veteran Lucas Santiago 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.
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?
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.