Title: Home Front
Author: Kristin Hannah
On the shelves: Fiction> Contemporary
All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .
Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life–children, careers, bills, chores–even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a soldier she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own–for everything that matters to his family.
At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope. (Goodreads 2017)
This was the first book of Kristen Hannah’s I have read, and it won’t be the last. I don’t really get to read a lot of contemporary, focussing mainly on fantasy, sci-fi and young adult, but I’ve been wanting to branch out of my comfort zone for quite some time, and I had become aware of Hannah’s works through the work of book blogging some time before. I decided to try “Home Front” due to a personal interest. I studied about military veterans for my dissertation at university- specifically focussing on their involvement within the criminal justice system- so when I saw that this was an adult contemporary foccusing on how a female veteran balances being redeployed with the stresses of family life and everything that comes with having to do that, including PTSD as a result of what she witnesses whilst deployed, I knew this was the one I needed to try.
I can honestly say, I enjoyed this book. I thought that the portayal of both the family life and military life Jolene has to balance was written well and respectfully. The only character who grated on me a bit was the daughter, who acted very bratty about her mother- now I know she is meant to be a “teenager” but I can only use “teenager” as an excuse for “pain in the ass” so many times before my teeth start to hurt. While you follow Jolene dealing with the guilt of having to leave her family behind to go and fight with her unit, her husband who works as a lawyer gets saddled with a high profile case of a military veteran suffering with PTSD, who is due to appear in court for a trial after allegedley hurting someone, which makes for an interesting contrast between his relationship with his wife whilst she is going through being deployed to a war zone. The book itself was nicely paced and I just felt overall the emotive topic was handled very respectfully.
Have you read any of Hannah’s works? Which is your favourite and why?