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Home Front Reviewed By Ellen Alexander of Bookpleasures.com
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Ellen Alexander

Reviewer Ellen Greiss Alexander:  Ellen is an accomplished musician, mother of two and the author of seven music books, five teen novels (including her four book series, The Prefab Four) and a book of lyrical poetry. You can contact Ellen or read samples of her books at www.theprefabfour.com.

 
By Ellen Alexander
Published on January 10, 2012
 

Author: Kristin Hannah

ISBN: 978-0312577209

Publisher: St. Martin's Press


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Author: Kristin Hannah

ISBN: 978-0312577209

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Once upon a time an orphaned teen named Jolene enrolled in flight school with her best friend, Tami. Little did either of them know that they would one day be deployed to Iraq - leaving behind their husbands and children to fight in a war they might never return home from. Home Front is the story of Jolene's two separate lives: the idyllic one she shares with her husband, Michael and her two young daughters, Betsy and Lulu, in the suburbs of Washington State and the military one she shares with her fellow soldiers as a Blackhawk pilot with the National Guard in war-torn Iraq. Making matters even more stressful for Jolene are Michael's parting words right before she ships out (against her husband and children's wishes) - "I don't love you anymore." 

During her absence, Michael must step up to the plate and take over all parenting duties on the 'home front' - with a lot of help from his invaluable mother, Mila. Together they get the girls ready for school and for bed, chauffeur them back and forth and, all the while, keep their minds occupied and from thinking about what their mother is really doing half a world away. To that end, Jolene makes a point of masking the horrors of war by sending home cheerful emails to her daughters (ignoring Michael completely) but, unfortunately, her oldest daughter can see right through them and battles her own emotions of alternately loving and hating her mother. None of that helps diminish Michael's resentment of his wife's decision to all but alienate their family and he continues to blame Jolene for everything that goes wrong from that point on. Until the dreaded knock on the door...

When Jolene and Tami's helicopter is shot down, their two families - along with those of the other soldiers on board - will each face challenges that will change their lives forever. As Michael takes on the case of a young Marine charged with first degree murder in the accidental killing of his wife, he learns more about PTSD than he bargains for and ends up being the one who, ultimately, helps his wife deal with her own struggles. Through his legal work, Michael goes from neither understanding nor supporting Jolene's need to serve her country to becoming an advocate for victims suffering from PTSD. We see the results of the war on not only the soldiers who go there to fight but to their families waiting at home as well. It is a story of hope and fear, loss and forgiveness and the power of true love above all else. 


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