Review: Fighting For Us by Claire Kingsley

by Theja Pk
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paperback of fighting for us by Claire kingsley being held by female hand

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Last updated on February 13th, 2024

In this review, we’ll take a look at Fighting For Us by Claire Kingsley, which concludes Grace and Asher’s story from book #1. When we left them in the series origin story, Asher was sent to prison for committing a crime while defending Grace.

After being suddenly released from prison, Asher is forced to find his footing in the world he left behind several years ago. And Grace will be damned if he thinks he can push her away in the process.

Fighting For Us – Claire Kingsley

3.8 out of 5
illustrated book cover of fighting for us by Claire kingsley showing a lone house in a mountainous region

GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUB DATE: May 28, 2020
TROPE: second chance
TWs: mental illness (PTSD)

The second book in the Bailey Brothers Series is a painfully beautiful love story about fighting for the love that you can’t live without.

Characters
4 out of 5
Plot
3 out of 5
Writing
3 out of 5
Overall Enjoyment
4 out of 5
Narration
5 out of 5

Pros

PTSD rep

strong main characters

hilarious brotherly shenanigans

engaging narration

Cons

repetitive inner monologues

character development felt rushed

Synopsis

How long would you wait for the love of your life?

The Asher Bailey who comes home to his quirky small town isn’t the same man who put a ring on Grace’s finger. He’s bigger, harder, haunted. Forced to give up Grace and everything else that was good in his life for a prison sentence he barely survived.

Now that he’s home, he finds himself aggressively welcomed by his brothers and gleefully gossiped about by his neighbors. He’d counted on both. But he never expected to see Grace still wearing his ring.

Grace’s fairy tale didn’t end. It was interrupted. She’s spent the last seven years living her life while waiting for one man. Now that he’s back, she’s got her work cut out for her. He’s scarred and angry, and stubbornly convinced they can’t be together. She’s more than happy to educate him otherwise.

Every beer, every prank, every kiss brings him closer to where he’s always belonged. In her life. In her arms. In her heart. Asher fears the darkness inside him can’t be contained. But Grace won’t give up on him without a fight.

Characters

The relationship between Asher and Grace is put to the test. And while their romance was realistically shown as a second chance romance, I do think the character development was rushed in the end.

Asher

My heart broke for Asher. Though he wasn’t physically in prison anymore, he was mentally stuck inside that jail cell, constantly looking over his shoulder and gearing up for a fight.

What if you want something that’s not good for you because you’ve wanted it for so long you don’t question it anymore?

The PTSD that grips inmates after being released back into the real world was enlightening to read and beautifully shown.

His struggle to protect Grace from his demons while resisting their inevitable love created the necessary tension to keep reading in anticipation of their happy ending. 

Grace

Grace is a strong female MC, and I’m glad she was written to be a hopeful character rather than a cynical one, especially after everything she has been through.

The way she fights for their love is inspiring and moving. She embodies what it means to love someone big enough to help them save themselves. 

“Maybe that’s not how love works. Nobody’s keeping score. I love you because I do. Because of who you were, and who you are now. Because something deep inside me is connected to something deep inside you. And whatever that is, I think it’s worth fighting for.”

Side Characters

GRAM remains one of my favorite characters in this series, and I am always looking forward to reading her scenes for her infinite wisdom. How she disciplines 5 grown-ass men is hilarious and makes you wonder whether she’s secretly a genius or just plain crazy.

CARA is introduced in this book as Grace’s best friend, and she is an interesting character who tends to be over the top, but you can’t help but love her fierce loyalty to Grace.

The rest of the BAILEY BROTHERS and their shenanigans provide the necessary comic relief with enough glimpses into their personality to have you reaching for their individual books. Add this to how they look out for each other, and you’re pretty much a goner for these rowdy brothers.

For more rowdy brothers and small-town shenanigans, check out other books by Claire Kingsley.

Plot

The book progresses a bit too slowly for my liking. There are many unnecessary scenes that could have been replaced with more emphasis on character development.

The ending is sweet and swoon-worthy, but their conflict resolution is a bit rushed. I wanted more details on how they dealt with their inner demons in therapy instead of simply stating that they were in therapy together and everything was getting better. 

But I did appreciate that the book didn’t portray the message that “love is enough” and that you have to work on yourselves to better commit to your partner.

There’s also a mystery subplot surrounding the town’s history that gets introduced, and I look forward to seeing it unfold as the series progresses.

Writing

My only issue with this book’s writing is that the inner monologue of both characters was over-explanatory and repetitive, prolonging the book more than necessary. 

Narration

Aaron Shedlock and Samantha Moore continue their narration from the previous book, Protecting You, proving once again how well they complement their characters and each other.

I recommend checking out this book in audio format. 

Best Quotes

  • Sometimes what we need is a place to fall apart. A place where we know our pieces will be safe while we work on putting them back together.
  • What if you want something that’s not good for you because you’ve wanted it for so long you don’t question it anymore?
  • She said sometimes when a man goes to war, he has to make himself forget the people he leaves behind. It’s the only way he can become the warrior he needs to be to survive.
  • Maybe that’s not how love works. Nobody’s keeping score. I love you because I do. Because of who you were, and who you are now. Because something deep inside me is connected to something deep inside you. And whatever that is, I think it’s worth fighting for.

Conclusion

Fighting for Us by Claire Kingsley is a painfully beautiful love story about fighting for the love that you can’t live without.

If you love headstrong, authentic characters with a funny supporting cast and quirky townsfolk, then this book is for you.

For fans of grumpy-sunshine romances, don’t miss the next book in the series, Unraveling Him, which focuses on the second oldest Bailey Brother, Evan.

Cover Change

The series recently received an update with beautifully illustrated covers, which I must say are absolutely vibrant and capture the charming atmosphere of the small town.

But, I have to admit that I am a bit biased towards the originals because I think the men chosen to portray the brothers were a perfect match for their respective characters.

ORIGINAL COVER
UPDATED COVER

Enjoyed this Fighting For Us review? Then, be sure to add it to your TBR. And if you have already read this book and have some thoughts to share, drop them in the comments below. I would love to hear them!

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