Home Front by Kristin Hannah
Michael Zarkades was a busy man. His job as a lawyer kept him at the office late at night, and back again early in the morning. His wife Jolene handled everything else, groceries, home upkeep, the needs of their two children, Betsy (12) and Lu Lu (4), bill paying, carpooling, and a pilot for the National Guards. Their lives went 100 miles and hour – in opposite directions.
With a marriage already on the rocks, the news of Jolene’s deployment could not have been worse timing. Michael had just taken on a tough case. Betsy was practicing (and very well I might add) at being the “oh poor me” teenager, Lu Lu valued all her mommy time.
With Jolene gone for what looks like will be a year, Michael gets a full dose of what it is like to try to manage career and family. When the unthinkable happens, this family with all of its frayed ends, will need to use everything they have to pull it together…. or unravel forever.
I have dabbled a bit through the years in Kristin Hannah’s books and have enjoyed what I have read. Home Front was one that was introduced to me by a friend, and I was due for another audio so really, why not?
The narration was done by Maggi-Meg Reed and at first I could not get over how much she sounded like Kathleen Turner, A very strong, self-assured, sometimes over dramatic voice that at first bothered me, as it felt too strong for Jolene… and then later in the audio, I decided it was perfect for Jolene… in fact the parts where she reads the overly spoiled and whiny Betsy actually cracked me up. (Even though seriously if there was ever a character I wanted to slap and tell her to grow up, it is Betsy).
The story told here is interesting as usually when we think of someone going off to war, it is the husband, or the son. Kristin Hannah twists that up with the “what if instead it was a woman, and not just a woman, but a married woman with two small children. What if it was the man left at home to handle things?
Jolele’s time away is riddled with her seeing war first hand, yet trying to make her family believe through the occasional phone call or email that she is in a safe zone, mostly flying around VPI’s. While you see all that Jolene is hiding, you see Michael go from angry at his wife, to coming to more of an understanding of how serious where she is can be.
It’s hard to say much here without giving away major plot points so I will just say that Kristin Hannah does a fine job of surprising the reader of what will happen next. The easy answers, are not what we find here, but in the end, I think we can make peace with the way it is.
While come parts of this book/audio felt unnecessarily drawn out, in the end, I liked it.
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