The War in Iraq finally ended late last year, with the last of U.S. troops leaving Iraq by mid-December. But the soldiers who served their country are forever altered by their time in Iraq. Kristin Hannah’s inspiration for Home Front came while watching the nightly news, as troops came home to their families.
Jolene Zarkades lost her parents in a car accident when she was 17. With no family and no money, she turned to the Army, where she found a different kind of family. 12 years later, she’s married to Michael, a successful lawyer, mother of two girls, and flying helicopters with her best friend for the National Guard. Jolene and Michael’s marriage has hit a rocky patch. Jolene is strong, self-reliant and refuses to ask for help. Michael, following in his father’s footsteps, spends too many hours at work and his family suffers for his seeming lack of interest in them. But when Jolene’s unit is deployed to Iraq, her family’s world is turned upside down. While she lives in constant fear of IEDs, attacks on the base and her Black Hawk getting shot down, Michael finally puts his family first and wonders how he can repair the marriage that’s broken partly (mostly) because of his selfish behavior.
In the year that Home Front covers, each member of the Zarkades family goes through major changes, which is what makes good character-driven fiction, in my book (no pun intended!). Most of them start out pretty unlikeable — even Jolene, the seemingly perfect mother, has her flaws — and while Jolene’s going to war is a less than ideal situation they all come out having grown and learned from the experience.
I will warn interested readers that the content in Home Front is not light or warm and fuzzy. A family torn apart by war is emotionally unstable and the language used in times of anger and frustration only added to the realism for me but others may disapprove.
Notes on the audiobook: Maggi-Meg Reed is becoming the narrator of choice for popular women’s fiction, and for good reason. She conveys emotions in ways that evoke a strong reaction from the listener. This is not a book to listen to while driving because tears caused by the many heartbreaking moments are not conducive to safe driving.
Macmillan Audio is providing us with an audio copy of Home Front for one winner, U.S. addresses only. Please leave a comment to enter to win. The winner will be announced on February 22. This giveaway has closed.
- The winner of the A Wrinkle in Time 50th Anniversary giveaway is #14 Cindi
- The winner of the Four Letter Words giveaway is #3, Emily C.
Nancy couldn’t imagine leaving her family and going off to war, but is thankful to those who do serve their country. She writes about her 2 boys, books and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys and Books.