Frankly, I had never heard of Kristin Hannah before returning to the US last autumn. All of a sudden her books were everywhere. I guess I made certain assumptions based on the covers’ pastel colors and pretty scenes.
A couple of weeks ago I came across her latest, Home Front, at the library and decided to give it a read. At worst I could put it down after a day or two. At best, I might pick up a new author for lighter reading.
As I started to read the book I realized that I really didn’t want to like this book. Hannah’s writing was rather trite (she always goes for the obvious phrasing) and the subject was made for tv movie schmaltzy. Jolene survives a difficult childhood and manages to make it into adulthood with a relatively upbeat attitude, a husband, two children and a career in the National Guard.
Then her marriage starts to fall apart. Then she’s called up to active duty in Iraq. Then bad things happen.
Seriously, I could have told you the whole book based on a few sentences on the fly leaf. And yet, there I was 50 pages in crying as I read. Yes, it’s obvious. Yes, the writing is mediocre. Yes, the plot hits all the predictable emotional hot spots. But yes, I still cried. More than once.
Home Front is not a great book, but it’s a pretty good read. The soapy emotional stuff is nothing new, but the coverage of post-traumatic stress disorder and the stress on the family when a mother goes into active duty was interesting and enlightening. Hannah manages to resolve all the dramatic tension in trite ways, but I guess that’s to be expected in this type of a book.
I can’t say I’d highly recommend the book, but I would say that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I got involved in the story and the characters and ended up wiping away tears reading the book at the laundromat.