Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould; 2016; $14.99; 373 pages; Bethany House, Bloomington, MN; 978-0-7642-1524-7; sent from Publisher;1/3/1/16-2/3/16
A continuation of the story which began in Amish Promises. Zane and Lila are from different worlds, as Lila is part of an Amish family and Zane’s father is a veteran of the U.S. Army. They have grown close together being neighbors, perhaps too close as the are closing in on eighteen. Lila is being courted by another member of the Amish community and pushes Zane away, he impulsively joins the U.S. Army and after training is deployed to Afghanistan. Absence seems to make the heart grow fonder and bought Zane and Lila come to realizations that will change their lives and the lives of those around them.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, it was a good story of young love and complicated relationships which were made even more complicated by the differences in faiths.
Amish Promises by Leslie Gould; 2015; $14.99; 361 pages; Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN; gift from the author;4/28/15-5/2/15
Why did I read this? Leslie is a great author who tells an awesome story and she is a friend of ours.
What is the story? Amish farmer Tim Lehman recently lost his wife and Joel Beck was wounded in Iraq. Joe, his son and his pregnant wife move to Lancaster, PA next door to Tim and his family. Tim’s sister Eve has moved in with him to take care of his children. Joel’s friend, fellow soldier and unit medic, Charlie, comes from Philadelphia to help with Joel’s rehab. The action starts right away with Joel hurting himself again and one of Tim’s children getting kicked in the head by a horse. As time goes on there is conflict between the Amish and the Englisch family, but they come to a understanding. Meanwhile a romance blossoms between Eve and Charlie, and as they grow closer they are both burdened by their past.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, Leslie is a great storyteller and she tells a great story of the conflicts and understanding reached between the two families.
What is with the title of the review? Often love is able to overcome the differences between people.
Black Hearts, One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death by Jim Frederick; 2010; $26.00; 439 pages; Harmony Books, New York, NY; 978-0-307-45075-3; 956.70443 F8524b; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 10/28/14-11/4/14
Mans inhumanity to man is highlighted in this story about how four soldiers executed and committed heinous crimes against a family in Iraq. The backstory is almost as atrocious as the crime that was committed, 3 of the four had very negative family stories. There time serving in Iraq was terrible as they lost comrade after comrade and were badmouthed, ignored and punished for the failings of those higher up in the chain of command. This is very difficult to write as there are several people t, those hat I would like to blast for what appears to be their incompetence and stupidity but I don’t know what pressures they were under. I don’t know how many times I stopped, it was many, put my head in my hands and said you can’t be serious.
Did I learn from it? I learned several things about human nature and the ineptitude of the command structure those in command of this platoon ignored not just warning signs, but warning screams, they degraded the soldiers and ignored signs from the lowliest private to the company commander.
What is with the title of the review? I feel like I ever meet up with some of the upper echelons from this book I would simply sneer at them stop whatever I was doing and walk away from them. These are not leaders that you would follow to the gates of hell, you might lead them there and throw them in, lock the gate and throw away the key.
Hero Mama, A Daughter Remembers the Father She Lost in Vietnam–and the Mother Who Held Her Family Together by Karen Spears Zacharias; 2005; 367 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 0060721480; B-Za118 2005; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 6/1/14-6/4/14
SSgt David Spears was a husband, a father and a soldier, good at all of them. He enlisted in 1951 and served in Korea and Vietnam. He was killed in action on July 24, 1966 and that is when things changed for his widow, Shelby and their three small children, Frank, Karen and Linda. The Army basically gave no support to the family once SSgt Spears was buried. Shelby was a high school dropout who went on to become an Licensed Practical Nurse and then a Registered Nurse. More difficult than becoming a nurse was having to raise three children on her own. Her son was adrift without a father, dealing drugs and getting in trouble in many different ways. Her daughters each dealt with their grief differently in ways that reflect stoic paranoia in one and just moving on for the other. Shelby found comfort in many different ways until she finished nursing school and got a job. Then she threw herself completely into her job, wherever it took. It took her all the way to Alaska as she tried to get away from where her memories of her husband. Her children each became Christians and have some measure of comfort leaning on the arms of God. As Karen got older she became a writer and the story she needed to write the story of her father and mother in particular. I am sure that it was a painful journey, and she became involved with several veterans organizations and organizations made up of other sons and daughters whose fathers were killed in Vietnam.
Did I like it? Yes. I don’t think that I have ever cried while reading a non fiction book. Karen was able to convey the emotions that she felt as she grew up. This is a book that everyone should read, particularly those who have never been involved with the military. Karen shares the anguish that all military kids whose fathers are deployed feel while they are gone.
What is with the title of the review? My brother and sisters are part of a group that is often ignored,the children of those in the military, who have a parent sent away for months or years at a time. Karen Spears Zacharias is also a member of this group as is my favorite author, Pat Conroy. Their parent is killed and the military rarely acknowledges the sacrifice that the children of the service members.
The book is now out in paperback and has been retitled “After The Flag is Folded”
Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel; 2013; $26.00; 256 pages; Sarah Crichton Books, New York, NY; 978-0-374-18066-9; 362.86 F499t; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 5/13/14-5/16/14
David Finkel continues to follow the soldiers and families that he first wrote about in The Good Soldiers. He focuses on a squared away soldier who part way into his third deployment was sent home because of combat stress, a soldier who watched one of his buddies burn to death, the family of a soldier who came home in a casket. It is sad to see the way the Army and Veterans Administration is dealing with these soldiers and families. The soldier is the only one who qualifies for specific programs and sometimes they have to forsake jobs and family to get help. One soldier who lived in Topeka, Kansas had to go to a four month program in California. That meant his wife had to raise their two kids on her own and work to pay their bills, since the soldier is detached from the service he gets no pay, in essence the Army is asking these guys to pay for their own treatment because of decisions made by people in high places who had no chance of being injured or even seeing anything that could disturb them. I feel myself climbing up on a soapbox, so I will conclude with the Families should be involved in the counseling, the Army should pay for the treatment, and the Draft should be re- instituted.
Did I like it? Yes and No, I was interested in how the soldiers and their families were treated once they were separated from the military and I was disappointed to learn how little care is given to the men and women who served our country and I include the families of those who have served.
What is with the title of the review? Many fiction books get sequels but not many non fiction books do. This is a follow up to David Finkels book The Good Soldiers.