WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY
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 fiancée, Annemarie, who has helped Gilbert confront his postwar anxiety, but both men continue to struggle with the war's aftermath on 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 the Gilbert to leave the war behind, and for her own journey to become the woman God intended her to be.
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 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!
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of When the Clouds Roll By please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday October 6 2013. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!