01 April 2011

Just finished reading...

One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming.*

Clare Fergusson has just returned from an 18-month tour as a helicopter pilot in Iraq. Thrust immediately back into her role as Episcopalian priest, and attempting to build a relationship with Police Chief Russ van Alstyne, she finds herself depending more and more on prescription drugs and alcohol.

Although she joins a community support group for veterans, and they become close, she's not able to admit this dependence to them, Russ, or even herself. When one of the group members, a young woman named Tally McNabb, is found in shot to death in her swimming pool in an assumed suicide, Clare has her doubts and tries to convince Russ that she's right.

This amazing book is obviously the result of a great deal of research and interviews with veterans. (In fact, publication of this book was delayed because Spencer-Fleming was so determined to accurately portray the results of these.) The other veterans are realistically characterized (at least based on a close friend of mine who served in Afghanistan). This affecting story is a must-read for anyone associated with the battle-scarred.

Spencer-Fleming has also published Letters to a Soldier (available free for Kindle) consisting of letters between the some of the main characters in One Was a Soldier, and increasing the impact of the book.

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me an Advance Review Copy of the book.

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