Thursday, 3 October 2013

" Home Front " by Kristin Hannah

This International Bestselling Author is a new discovery for me.  I came across the title while browsing online one evening and the blurb made the novel sound like something I would enjoy.
Kristin Hannah has written over 20 novels and is a regular on BookClub lists all over the world.

Home Front is the story of Jolene Zarkades, A Helicopter Pilot in The USA army.  She has never seen combat but is an Army girl through and through.  She is a mother of two girls and herself and her husband, Michael, live next door to her best friend Tami and her family. The best friends met at basic Army training years before, and do everything together.
Michael is a lawyer, who has recently lost his father and is slowly removing himself more and more from his family and their day to day lives. Working longer hours in the city, missing family occasions and showing less and less interest in Jolene.
When he tells her one evening that he no longer loves her, Jolene's heart breaks. Then she receives word that herself and Tami are being sent to Iraq........

This is a moving novel which explores the depths of a damaged marriage, close friendships and the choices that Mothers must make.
When Jolene hears Michael say that he no longer loves her, I could almost feel her heart pounding in her chest and sense the tightening of her throat as the pain hits her.  She has always loved him and is completely devastated by his words.
She has barely time to let these emotions sink in when herself and her best friend are shipped off to war.  Fighting with her husband and now her children too, she is not only off to fight battles in Iraq, but also the ones inside herself.

She writes upbeat letters and emails to her daughters at home but refuses to contact Michael.  She keeps a separate journal which reveals her true emotions over there and it has a very different, real tone to it.

When she returns home her whole life has changed and we are a witness to her difficult journey to recover and attempts to find herself again.

While I loved the concept of the book and flew through the first half , I became irritated with Jolene's two daughters who were not likable at all.  Her mother-in-law was too sugar coated and Jolene's rehab story was a little dragged out for my tastes.
However, Michael developed nicely as a character and I would have liked to read more about his feelings and of the cases he was working on in his law firm.  He represents an ex-soldier with PTSD and this story tied in nicely with Jolene's.

Kristin Hannah has a nice, easy style of writing and would be perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks.

"Home Front" is published by Pan and is widely available.

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