A gripping and heartwarming romance from the beaches of Australia and war torn Afghanistan. This is the first book I've read by Kate McCarthy, but I will be reading more. Military romance isn't normally a genre I gravitate to but I absolutely loved this book. A friends to lover romance at heart, the story starts with a friendship between a fifteen year old girl and a seventeen year old boy. A fence divides their back yards, and she uses this fence for protection as she ever so slowly opens herself up. Each are dealing with the heartbreak of losing their only parent and facing the world alone. He chooses the Australian army. Years later, she does too. He ends up being SAS, military elite. She's a medic. One of my favorite quotes from the book: "You're barely held together with duct tape. We all are. Isn't that why any of us join the army in the first place? You're hoping it's going to perform some kind of miracle and piece us back together again. But newsflash, Brooks, it doesn't. It only makes the cracks inside us bigger." At one point, I had to jump ahead to the end. I need to make sure I wasn't digging into another "Nightingale" situation. The book isn't a walk in the park, meaning your heart is going to rip a bit along the journey, but when you close the book, you'll have a smile on your face and you'll wish there were more pages to read. Friendships and minor characters play a major role. For two people with no blood family, their few friends and military colleagues are vital. Maybe that's necessary in a story about the military? After all, who could ever forget the phrase, "Talk to me Goose!". Kate McCarthy's Fighting Absolution will have you rooting for these characters to find their absolution and cheering for them as they choose happiness. I strongly recommend this book.