When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1 -eBook
Recommend with one reservation
The topic (returning vets from a war) was very timely, as was the loss of a sweetheart, I'm sure -- for whatever reasons. The writing was captivating, though sometimes I felt the sentiments expressed were repetitive.
I don't consider myself a prude, but I guess that I was somewhat surprised that, this being Christian fiction, one of the main characters brought a hostess gift of a bottle of brandy to a dinner at the pastor's home, and everyone (except the chaplain) imbibed as if it were the normal thing to do. In fact, the point of the "gift" was to get the pastor and one of the other characters so drunk that private information would be able to be procurred. With that exception, I would recommend the book.
February 5, 2014
Loved the historical nuggets...and the romance!
Sharing my thoughts~
Ceramist Annemarie Kendall couldn't be happier when WWI comes to an end and her fiance is on his way home, but from his recent letters, she knows the war's changed him. What she doesn't know is if he'll still love her and want to marry her. After an injury that leaves him feeling dependent and less masculine, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard isn't sure he want to return home to Hot Springs. Bitter and in constant pain, the last pill he wants to swallow is pity on his fiance's face.
Johnson sets up a robust conflict when Gilbert talks to Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary about his dilemma over Annemarie while on the ship headed home.
"He studied the girl in the portrait and realized with sudden certainty that if things were different--if he were coming home to a woman like Annemarie--he'd fight harder for her love than any doughboy ever fought on the Western Front."
After hearing Gilbert's intentions, how can Samuel help but fall a little in love with Annemarie before he ever sets eyes on her? And then when he meets her, she's more lovely and sweet than he imagined. But Samuel's suffering his own crisis, a result of the war.
"If he could just be certain God still listened. If he dared to hope the doors of heaven hadn't been barred against him for eternity."
Gilbert tends to be a bit cranky at times, but in my book, he's still a hero because of the pain he's in and the suffering he endured. Samuel refuses to move in on Gilbert's territory, and insists that Gilbert not make any foolish, rash decisions. I won't tell you which man I was rooting for. You can make your own choice. But I will admit to being very satisfied with the ending. :)
While this story is fictional, the characterization was so life-like and the conflict so believable. I can imagine similar scenarios happening back then, even now. Men and women still return home from war, scarred emotionally and physically.
While I'm not a huge history buff, I enjoyed how the author tucked in little nuggets of historical goodies, like how people conserved food during World War I. That, plus the tidbits about Hot Springs and the nice sub-plot that ran through the book made the story so rich and complex.
Although this book is a hefty 338 pages, I finished it in only a couple sittings. After being forced to put it down the first time (you know, sleep, work, life...), I wasn't going to put it down again until I found out who won Annemarie's heart. When the Clouds Roll By is a winner, and I'm excited that there's another two books in the series!
Disclaimer: Sending a big thanks to Myra Johnson, Abingdon Press and NetGalley for sending me an advance review copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased opinion. This review is my opinion, and I received no compensation.
October 22, 2013
After waiting for her fiancÃÂ©, Gilbert Ballard, to finally come home from fighting in the Great War in Europe, Annemarie Kendall is happy to receive the news he will arrive soon. Preparing to share a life with a man who has lost his leg, Annemarie has no idea of his other injuries. Gilbert doesnÃ¢ÂÂt want to burden Annemarie with a disabled man and breaks the engagement. He encourages her to move on with her life and even tells his best friend and army chaplain, Samuel VickaryÃ¢ÂÂwho has shown an interest in AnnemarieÃ¢ÂÂto go ahead and claim Annemarie for himself. Samuel, however, is afraid to take that step, because he is convinced Gilbert will come to his senses and will want her back.
When Samuel becomes ill with the Spanish Flu, the Kendalls take him in and nurse him back to health. During this time, Annemarie feels a strong connection to him, and a close friendship develops. Samuel is head over heels in love with Annemarie, but still feels it is not his place nor the time to court herÃ¢ÂÂnot only because of Gilbert, but also because of the ghosts of the war haunting him.
Then something happens that makes Annemarie start to think about her feelings for SamuelÃ¢ÂÂis it a mere friendship she is experiencing, or is it more than that? And what are her feelings for Gilbert? When Gilbert doesnÃ¢ÂÂt seem to wait for her and moves on with his life, Annemarie and Samuel dare to explore the possibility of a relationship. Can Annemarie let go of the love of her youth and move on with another man? Or will she go back to her first love?
An exceptional story about a young woman sorting out her feelings for two men scarred by war wounds. The one with physical wounds, the other with mental woundsÃ¢ÂÂtwo men who are transformed by what they have seen in the war and must learn to let go of the horrible memories and the losses they have suffered.
The writing style is excellent! After having read the first pages, I was so drawn into the story that I knew this was going to be a great readÃ¢ÂÂ¦and I wasnÃ¢ÂÂt disappointed! Although IÃ¢ÂÂm normally not a big fan of two men vying for the hand of the same woman, this book is so good that it didnÃ¢ÂÂt bother me at all. It has an original storyline and kept me guessing till the end. Highly recommended!
November 26, 2013
For Fans of Wartime Romance
When the Clouds Roll By is the first in a new series by Myra Johnson. ItÃ¢ÂÂs set shortly after the end of World War I in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a destination renowned for its healing springs and the former Army-Navy hospital. The location is used to good effect as Gilbert receives treatment at one of the many bath houses and Samuel ministers to the wounded who have been sent to the hospital. The Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918 to 1920 is also included in the plot line, with several scenes set around the hospitalÃ¢ÂÂs isolation unit. An important aspect of this novel is the highlighting of the difference between the physical and psychological wounds caused by the war. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was more commonly known as shell-shock and casualties were often badly treated by todayÃ¢ÂÂs standards.
Gilbert is not a likable character, even after seeing the error of his ways, and you have to feel sorry for the nurse who gets caught up in his schemes. In contrast, Sam comes across as an honorable man trying to keep Gilbert and Annemarie together while fighting his own feelings for her. There are a number of minor characters featured, including AnnemarieÃ¢ÂÂs father, GilbertÃ¢ÂÂs brother, and the indomitable Mrs. Ballard who canÃ¢ÂÂt quite help looking down her nose at her would-be daughter-in-lawÃ¢ÂÂs decision to work outside of the home.
Fans of wartime romance should enjoy this first book in the Till We Meet Again series. The next one is called Whisper Goodbye and will be out next April. Gilbert is a main character again; I can only hope heÃ¢ÂÂs a little more pleasant.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for my free Advance Reader Copy of When the Clouds Roll By, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
November 7, 2013