Every night, Natalie leaves the front porch light on. Just in case. It's been two years since her son, James, went missing while saving the life of a fellow paratrooper in his division. Natalie's faith has sustained her while she awaits word on her son's whereabouts. Well-meaning friends encourages Natalie to move on, but Natalie continues to hope.
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Based on the beautiful song written by Mark Schultz, Letters from War captures the story of a mother, Beth, who refuses to give up hope that one day she will again see her son, James, who has been missing for 2 years from his tour with the infantry in Afghanistan. Beth is able to face each day by writing a letter to James, while trying to be a support to his wife and son and James' sister as well. Beth clings most of all to her faith in God. The story follows the emotional journey of Beth as she must decide whether to give up hope and move on, or hold to her belief that James may still be alive.
Letters from War provides a beautiful picture of what a mother's faith in God can accomplish in the darkest of moments. The story honors men and women who give their life in service to their country, honors bravery and selflessness, and for that reason alone the story is worth the read. The characters are well-developed and realistically portrayed, and their interactions create an intensely emotional read. However, readers who most enjoy face-paced, action-packed dramas or thrillers should prepare themselves for a slower read if they are going to pick up this book. Both my wife and I love the song the book is based upon and were hoping to love the book as well, but the book just didn't capture and hold our attention the way we were hoping it would, resulting in the rating I have given the book. Despite that fact, the themes of the book are important ones and this book is likely to be a meaningful read for many people, especially those who have loved ones actively serving their country.
I mildly recommend this book and give it a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher for the purposes of this review.
I’m thankful to have received a review copy of such a moving and tender novel. Beth’s son, James, goes off to serve his country just like his father did. The only thing James’ mom requested of him was that he writes her “real” letters, not emails. Beth says, “Emails can easily be lost. All with an errant click of a mouse or a press of a button.... but to discard a letter, you have to physically throw it away, something she’s been unable to do ever since getting the first letter. Words are different. Words reach the soul. She continues to read them to hear James and to keep believing.”
Beth says to her friend, “I can hear him speaking as she reads his words. They are beautiful just like he was. Here is a letter from James to his mom: “I’m not here to follow in Dad’s footsteps. I’m here to serve all of you and to serve this country... I am the infantry...I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight, wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemy... I am what my country expects me to be: The best-trained soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win!”
These authors have written a touching and memorable novel from a military families POV . James, Beth’s son, and Britt’s husband are in waiting mode. They were waiting to hear of any news of James’ whereabouts. James has been missing in action for two years. Not a single word on his location or any indication if he’s alive.
Beth, Britt and Emily (James sister) feel like their life is on hold. Beth still writes letters to her son James, even though she knows no one knows where he is. It’s as if she stops writing all hope is will be lost – she couldn’t go there.
I liked the unique way these authors used letters written in this novel to James and from his family members to make the story gripping, intimate, and give the reader a personal peek at the ways families relate to one another when they are away. This is a powerful, eye opener, for a non-military person like myself. It really shows the heartache and all the family goes through when one of their loved ones goes missing in action. I could see through James voice he had a “call” to be a solider and his heart to defend his country so we can be safe! It also gives a little glimpse into how James, a believer sees war, “the things we’ve seen - its impossible not to be affected ... it’s not just my faith that’s kept me grounded and out of harm’s way emotionally. It’s been my family too, and my ability to compartmentalize and avoid bad habits. “These are the tools he uses to survive and complete his mission.
This novel gave me a look at the soldiers’ family and how they sacrifice their loved ones to keep our country free. It also reminded me of what I take for granted. It heightened my awareness of what others do to protect our country. I’ve loved Travis Thrashers novels and Mark Schultz’s music, this novel doesn’t disappoint. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to read a story that made me instantly care for the character, made me laugh and also cry. This book was a great reminder with the 9/11 10th Anniversary this year of all I am to be thankful for. It had me see our military men and their families in a whole new light. I recommend this book so all types of readers.
Nora St.Laurent The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org