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Customer Reviews for Abingdon Press When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1

Abingdon Press When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1

Annemarie Kendall is overjoyed when the armistice is signed and the Great War comes to an end. Her fiance, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard, is coming home, and though he is wounded, she is excited to start their life together. But when he arrives, her dreams are dashed when she learns Gilbert is suffering from headaches, depression, and an addiction to pain killers. This is not the man she had planned to marry.
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12 out of 12100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Review 1 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Recommend with one reservation

Date:February 5, 2014
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Louise
Location:Los Angeles, CA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
The topic (returning vets from a war) was very timely, as was the loss of a sweetheart, I'm sure -- for whatever reasons. The writing was captivating, though sometimes I felt the sentiments expressed were repetitive.
I don't consider myself a prude, but I guess that I was somewhat surprised that, this being Christian fiction, one of the main characters brought a hostess gift of a bottle of brandy to a dinner at the pastor's home, and everyone (except the chaplain) imbibed as if it were the normal thing to do. In fact, the point of the "gift" was to get the pastor and one of the other characters so drunk that private information would be able to be procurred. With that exception, I would recommend the book.
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Review 2 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 26, 2013
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Marbie
Location:The Netherlands
Age:35-44
Gender:female
After waiting for her fiancé, Gilbert Ballard, to finally come home from fighting in the Great War in Europe, Annemarie Kendall is happy to receive the news he will arrive soon. Preparing to share a life with a man who has lost his leg, Annemarie has no idea of his other injuries. Gilbert doesn’t want to burden Annemarie with a disabled man and breaks the engagement. He encourages her to move on with her life and even tells his best friend and army chaplain, Samuel Vickary—who has shown an interest in Annemarie—to go ahead and claim Annemarie for himself. Samuel, however, is afraid to take that step, because he is convinced Gilbert will come to his senses and will want her back.
When Samuel becomes ill with the Spanish Flu, the Kendalls take him in and nurse him back to health. During this time, Annemarie feels a strong connection to him, and a close friendship develops. Samuel is head over heels in love with Annemarie, but still feels it is not his place nor the time to court her—not only because of Gilbert, but also because of the ghosts of the war haunting him.
Then something happens that makes Annemarie start to think about her feelings for Samuel—is it a mere friendship she is experiencing, or is it more than that? And what are her feelings for Gilbert? When Gilbert doesn’t seem to wait for her and moves on with his life, Annemarie and Samuel dare to explore the possibility of a relationship. Can Annemarie let go of the love of her youth and move on with another man? Or will she go back to her first love?
An exceptional story about a young woman sorting out her feelings for two men scarred by war wounds. The one with physical wounds, the other with mental wounds—two men who are transformed by what they have seen in the war and must learn to let go of the horrible memories and the losses they have suffered.
The writing style is excellent! After having read the first pages, I was so drawn into the story that I knew this was going to be a great read…and I wasn’t disappointed! Although I’m normally not a big fan of two men vying for the hand of the same woman, this book is so good that it didn’t bother me at all. It has an original storyline and kept me guessing till the end. Highly recommended!
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Review 3 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

For Fans of Wartime Romance

Date:November 7, 2013
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SallyinWNY
Location:western NY
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
When the Clouds Roll By is the first in a new series by Myra Johnson. It’s set shortly after the end of World War I in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a destination renowned for its healing springs and the former Army-Navy hospital. The location is used to good effect as Gilbert receives treatment at one of the many bath houses and Samuel ministers to the wounded who have been sent to the hospital. The Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918 to 1920 is also included in the plot line, with several scenes set around the hospital’s isolation unit. An important aspect of this novel is the highlighting of the difference between the physical and psychological wounds caused by the war. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was more commonly known as shell-shock and casualties were often badly treated by today’s standards.
Gilbert is not a likable character, even after seeing the error of his ways, and you have to feel sorry for the nurse who gets caught up in his schemes. In contrast, Sam comes across as an honorable man trying to keep Gilbert and Annemarie together while fighting his own feelings for her. There are a number of minor characters featured, including Annemarie’s father, Gilbert’s brother, and the indomitable Mrs. Ballard who can’t quite help looking down her nose at her would-be daughter-in-law’s decision to work outside of the home.
Fans of wartime romance should enjoy this first book in the Till We Meet Again series. The next one is called Whisper Goodbye and will be out next April. Gilbert is a main character again; I can only hope he’s a little more pleasant.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for my free Advance Reader Copy of When the Clouds Roll By, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 4 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Interesting setting

Date:November 6, 2013
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karlyle
Location:Idaho
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
When the Clouds Roll By by Myra Johnson is set in the days immediately following World War I and takes place in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I am fascinated by early 20th-century history, and since I have family in Arkansas, I was interested to read this novel. Regrettably, I wasn't as engaged as I had hoped. It was primarily a character-driven story focusing on the relationship between the characters, which was okay, but I would have liked to learn more about Hot Springs in the 1920s. It was worth reading, though... and your preferences may be different than mine, so I encourage you to give it a try if the story line interests you! Thank you to Abingdon Fiction for sending me a review copy.
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Review 5 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 6, 2013
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lcjohnson1988
Location:Indiana
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
In a novel sure to capture your heart, When the Clouds Roll By, features a romance set it the timeframe of WWI. The main characters are fraught with past memories, injuries and for some servicemen, nightmares. The audience will be captured by the intensity of the building climax as past meets future. The suspense of what may come in the story along with the mystery of choices made will keep the audience enraptured for many hours. An aspect of the novel that is clearly present throughout the pages is the tension that loved ones at home endured. Another characteristic of the novel is the memories many servicemen continued to live with even though they had returned home. Those waiting at home for them were not sure how the men’s’ experiences had changed them or their futures; only time would tell.
One of the main characters, Chaplain Samuel Vickers, struggles with believing God can forgive him when he cannot forgive himself. Samuel’s memory, unbeknownst to him, has blocked out some of the actual events. While he tries to convince Gilbert not to give up on his fiancée, Gilbert nonetheless decides to walk a different path that may lead to destruction. Annemarie has loved Gilbert since they were children; however, the future mother-in-law seems unwilling to postpone the wedding. No matter what Annemarie shares with her future mother-in-law about Gilbert’s injuries and frame of mind, there seems to be no way to bring about an understanding of the decisions that concern the couples’ future. In a moment of haste, Gilbert releases his fiancée from her promise because he believes his physical change makes him half a man.
The suspense of the novel kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning, and I’m glad I took some time to read this book. The audience will find a mystery within a mystery, and the suspense in the story never lets up. During this era, there were differences in social standing that is brought into the tale to help readers understand the characters even more. The friendships forged between soldiers on the front are also witnessed in the way they interact on their voyage back home. These friendships are a source of comfort, understanding and confidentiality that helps bring healing to many a wounded soul.
I have never read a book by this author before, but I will be on the lookout for other fictional tales told by Myra Johnson. The prevalent theme as I read the book seemed to be the heart’s cry for forgiveness, love and hope from God and loved ones. I couldn’t help but be struck by the reminder of the many who have served our nation in other wars who have suffered and been scarred by what they have seen. In this historical tale, we are reminded that time, support, prayers and love help those returning from the war. Even if I guessed where the direction of the plot was going, I couldn’t have imagined how the author brought it to fruition. I really loved reading When Clouds Roll By and I think you will too
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Review 6 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Compelling and Complex Read

Date:October 5, 2013
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KavR
Location:Canada
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Do not peek at the last page of this book.
Do. Not. Peek.
No! Stop!!!!!! You really don't want to know how it ends before...well...it ends.
Why do I feel the need to post this warning? Because you will become so emotionally invested in these characters you will be in agony wanting to know how things turn out. You will be squirming in your seat and frothing at the mouth and howling at the moon but you need to reader up and just plow on through. So, no peeking at the last page. Is that clear?
I spent most of the read wanting to smack the author upside the head while screaming "Tell me how it ends already!!!!" That's because Johnson has woven such a compelling and complex story that honestly, I've never been so close to throwing my highly held reader standards out the window and devouring the last page first. LOL. I'm still gutted.
Phew, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I can get on with the review.
Johnson gives a voice to thousands of World War I veterans -- men and women who were grossly misunderstood and under treated. We're just starting to get it now in the 21st century but after World War I -- well, there are parts of this book that are painful to read and parts where you want to lambast the doctors and a certain mother and...I guess y'all are getting the idea that this was an emotional read for me. I don't think my blood pressure is back to normal yet.
I loved Annemarie -- her unwavering faith, her desire to move forward in the midst of intense emotional turmoil, her strength in the face of adversity, the creative spark that brings a whole new dimension to her character. This heroine makes the read a rich and immensely satisfying one.
As to the hero -- that's a more complicated matter that I'll leave up to fellow readers to discover.
And one final warning. You will reach a point of no return and will have to compulsively read until you reach the end so it is best to clear your calendar and send your family on holiday without you so you can enjoy a reading staycation. Would that be a readcation? Whatever you call it, you'll enjoy every minute of it!
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Review 7 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

World War I Consequences and Romance

Date:September 30, 2013
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VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Myra Johnson in her new book, "When The Clouds Roll By" Book One in the Till We Meet Again series published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Annemarie Kendall.
From the back cover: Sometimes, going home is the worst thing you can do.
World War I has ended, but returning to Hot Springs, Arkansas, means Lt. Gilbert Ballard has to face his fiance, who has no idea how badly he's been wounded. Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary has helped Gilbert confront his postwar anxiety, but both men continue to struggle with the war's aftermath in their lives.
Determined he won't become a burden, Gilbert decides to break his engagement to Annemarie. Samuel does his best to convince Gilbert he's a fool for giving Annemarie up, but he can't deny--at least to himself--his own growing attraction to his best friend's girl.
Caught in the middle and confused, Annemarie searches for the courage that can save them all--the courage for Samuel to reaffirm his faith, for Gilbert to leave the war behind, and for her own journey to become the woman God intended to be.
Stories set during or after World War I are hard to come by and good stories are even scarcer. Ms. Johnson has stepped up to the void and filled it with a winner. The title tells you the story is set after the war when you would think that the storm clouds of the war have passed. Ms. Johnson is writing about the clouds that come after the war when the soldiers came home shell-shocked or having what we call now PTSD or wounded or both and how does everyone deal with those clouds. Gilbert has his issues and really does not know how to cope in his new civilian life, Samuel has his issues and Annemarie is forced to deal with these new components in her life. This story had the potential to become a real downer but Ms. Johnson is a champion and not only kept it from going in that direction but she really kept it interesting and real. Ms. Johnson does an outstanding job of bringing her characters to life and you feel that you know and understand each of them and feel their individual pain. On top of that really want their romance to succeed. What a great way to start a new series. I am already looking forward to the next book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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Review 8 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Compelling look at the scars of war

Date:September 29, 2013
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Becky R
Location:Nebraska
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Set directly following World War I, When the Clouds Roll By deals with the scars--physical, emotional, and spiritual--the war left behind. I really appreciated how honestly the problems the soldiers faced upon returning home were portrayed. Gilbert especially had many demons to conquer, and I liked that while he recognized the need to make changes, he still had to deal with the consequences of his choices.
When the Clouds Roll By is a romance, but it's an unpredictable one. The "winner" of Annemarie's affections is not apparent from the first page (in contrast to most romance novels), and I wasn't sure how Johnson would resolve the love triangle until near the end of the book. I definitely enjoyed the unpredictability! I also appreciated that the romance didn't overshadow the rest of the book.
While the book does tend to drag a bit in the middle, overall this is a wonderful story that shows how the wounds of war don't go away when the guns stop firing. I will certainly be coming back for the next book in the series!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance reading copy of this book for review from Abingdon Press through its early reader program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 9 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Bittersweet Christian Romance - Recommended

Date:September 26, 2013
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Iola
Location:New Zealand
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
It’s November 1918, and Annemarie Kendall works for her father as the bookkeeper at his pottery works in Hot Springs, Arkansas, while she waits for the war to end and her fiancé, Gilbert Ballard, to come home. She keeps herself busy designing beautiful one-off pieces of pottery—something she knows she won’t be able to do when she marries.
But when the war ends and Gilbert returns to Hot Springs with his friend, Army Chaplain Samuel Vickery, Gilbert isn’t the man Annemarie once knew. He’s suffering shellshock, recovering from losing a leg, and will barely speak to her. Annemarie is left to find out about his progress from Samuel, who is becoming a good friend. But it’s not just Gilbert who is carrying scars from the war. Samuel is as well, only his wounds are less obvious.
When the Clouds Roll By is Myra Johnson’s first full-length romance novel, and I think she’s done a great job. It’s not a typical romance with an ending that’s obvious from the first page, and I liked that unpredictability. There were times when I got frustrated with Gilbert for doing stupid things, but at the same time I realised that was how he would behave.
It was still definitely a romance, with two strong male leads vying for Annemarie’s attention. But it was something more as well, with strong subplots around recovering from shellshock, and the use and abuse of prescription medicines. When the Clouds Roll By is the first book in the Till We Meet Again series, and I’m certainly keen to return to Hot Springs, because there are a few minor characters I’d like to see more of. Recommended.
Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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Review 10 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Sometimes going home is the worst thing you can do

Date:September 11, 2013
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Heart2Heart
Location:Victorville, CA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
No one was anticipating the news more than families. Those looking for an end to the war were hoping that today would be different, and that they would receive news that it was finally over and the men and women would soon be returning home to waiting families and soon-to-be families. Yet not everyone was overly happy.
Annemarie Kendall knew things had changed over the time Gilbert Ballard has been serving in the war without ever speaking to him. The tone in his letters and what he wasn't saying, lead Annemarie to believe that Gilbert had changed. Sure she knew that he had suffered the loss of his leg as well as injured his arm but isn't love suppose to conquer all? Even war? Now facing him as she waits with her family and Gilbert's family to welcome him home, Annemarie is certain it will definitely be an unforgettable homecoming and one that will change the lives of them all now that the war is over. All Annemarie can hope is that she can show Gilbert that no matter what, she'll be with him all the way to the end.
Lt. Gilbert Ballard has been trying to imagine how he will manage now that he is half a man. Definitely not the man who conveyed his undying love and dedication to Annemarie before he left for the war. All he has been able to do it look at the faded photograph to help him remember what he had waiting for him when he returned back to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Not only a well-to-do family, but also the love of a woman who he had known his whole life. Beautiful beyond measure, she made sure to let him know how much she continued to love and support him, but how would Gilbert be able to provide for Annemarie now? He only hoped he could have enough courage to push past the pity she would feel for him and be grateful they hadn't married before the war.
Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary has been by Gilbert's side often fearing that the post traumatic stress disorder that is pulling at Gilbert will be able to be overcome when he reunites with Annemarie. He worried that during the long train trip home that Gilbert might find a way to take his own life without giving Annemarie a chance to show Gilbert that nothing has changed between them, even though in Gilbert's mind it has. If only he wasn't so drawn by her beauty and Gilbert's description of her kindness, he might be able to help more. But Samuel has his own war demons to face and one that has him questioning his own faith in God during the horrors he witnessed during the war. Would any of them be able to forget and move forward or will have the war changed them all forever?
I received When The Clouds Roll By by author Myra Johnson compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. My love for history coupled with an unforgettable romance between Gilbert and Annemarie as well as the love of Samuel to help his two friends while the war continues to consume lives even though it's long over. This one is poignant and compelling, making me turn page after page in wondering in anticipation if it would turn out as expected. I was not disappointed. This is the story of being lost and then found and what happens when we let our feelings gain control over what we really want deep down inside. There is courage to be found in facing what we fear the most and I believe Myra Johnson did just that in this novel. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars! This is the first novel in the Til We Meet Again Series and one I will be watching for!
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Review 11 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Loved the historical nuggets...and the romance!

Date:October 22, 2013
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Dora
Location:North Carolina
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Sharing my thoughts~
Ceramist Annemarie Kendall couldn't be happier when WWI comes to an end and her fiance is on his way home, but from his recent letters, she knows the war's changed him. What she doesn't know is if he'll still love her and want to marry her. After an injury that leaves him feeling dependent and less masculine, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard isn't sure he want to return home to Hot Springs. Bitter and in constant pain, the last pill he wants to swallow is pity on his fiance's face.
Johnson sets up a robust conflict when Gilbert talks to Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary about his dilemma over Annemarie while on the ship headed home.
"He studied the girl in the portrait and realized with sudden certainty that if things were different--if he were coming home to a woman like Annemarie--he'd fight harder for her love than any doughboy ever fought on the Western Front."
After hearing Gilbert's intentions, how can Samuel help but fall a little in love with Annemarie before he ever sets eyes on her? And then when he meets her, she's more lovely and sweet than he imagined. But Samuel's suffering his own crisis, a result of the war.
"If he could just be certain God still listened. If he dared to hope the doors of heaven hadn't been barred against him for eternity."
Gilbert tends to be a bit cranky at times, but in my book, he's still a hero because of the pain he's in and the suffering he endured. Samuel refuses to move in on Gilbert's territory, and insists that Gilbert not make any foolish, rash decisions. I won't tell you which man I was rooting for. You can make your own choice. But I will admit to being very satisfied with the ending. :)
While this story is fictional, the characterization was so life-like and the conflict so believable. I can imagine similar scenarios happening back then, even now. Men and women still return home from war, scarred emotionally and physically.
While I'm not a huge history buff, I enjoyed how the author tucked in little nuggets of historical goodies, like how people conserved food during World War I. That, plus the tidbits about Hot Springs and the nice sub-plot that ran through the book made the story so rich and complex.
Although this book is a hefty 338 pages, I finished it in only a couple sittings. After being forced to put it down the first time (you know, sleep, work, life...), I wasn't going to put it down again until I found out who won Annemarie's heart. When the Clouds Roll By is a winner, and I'm excited that there's another two books in the series!
Disclaimer: Sending a big thanks to Myra Johnson, Abingdon Press and NetGalley for sending me an advance review copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased opinion. This review is my opinion, and I received no compensation.
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Review 12 for When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Engaging story set in post WWI Arkansas.

Date:September 3, 2013
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churchbooklady
Location:Plano, Texas
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Abingdon, 2013
Annemarie Kendall waits eagerly for her fiancé, Gilbert Ballard, to return from WWI, knowing that he has suffered the loss of a leg and other physical injuries. What she is not prepared for are the psychic wounds that lead him to break their engagement. Gilbert introduces her to his chaplain friend, Rev. Samuel Vickary, who understands what Gilbert has experienced and who attempts to comfort Annemarie in her grief and confusion. Samuel struggles with his own psychic and spiritual wounds, which he is unable to share, unlike those to whom he ministers.
Johnson has written an engaging story, albeit one with a somewhat predictable ending, but enjoyable nonetheless. Annemarie’s struggle to fulfill her artistic inclination by making unique pottery pieces, putting her at odds with her father, whose business is making strictly utilitarian pottery and who thinks art is a waste of time, forms an interesting subplot. Historically, a woman’s role was to be wife and mother, a role Annemarie is comfortable anticipating until Gilbert throws her future into doubt. How Annemarie comes to terms with the loss of her fiancé, overcoming her father’s disapproval, and finding her new self makes for a quite readable book.
When the Clouds Roll By is a book I recommend for church libraries as well as book clubs. World War I is a popular era for fiction, and books like this one are a welcome addition to the genre of historical fiction as well as Christian fiction
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