When the Clouds Roll By, Till We Meet Again Series #1
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
When the Clouds Roll By by Myra Johnson is set in the days immediately following World War I and takes place in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I am fascinated by early 20th-century history, and since I have family in Arkansas, I was interested to read this novel. Regrettably, I wasn't as engaged as I had hoped. It was primarily a character-driven story focusing on the relationship between the characters, which was okay, but I would have liked to learn more about Hot Springs in the 1920s. It was worth reading, though... and your preferences may be different than mine, so I encourage you to give it a try if the story line interests you! Thank you to Abingdon Fiction for sending me a review copy.
November 6, 2013
In a novel sure to capture your heart, When the Clouds Roll By, features a romance set it the timeframe of WWI. The main characters are fraught with past memories, injuries and for some servicemen, nightmares. The audience will be captured by the intensity of the building climax as past meets future. The suspense of what may come in the story along with the mystery of choices made will keep the audience enraptured for many hours. An aspect of the novel that is clearly present throughout the pages is the tension that loved ones at home endured. Another characteristic of the novel is the memories many servicemen continued to live with even though they had returned home. Those waiting at home for them were not sure how the menÃ¢ÂÂsÃ¢ÂÂ experiences had changed them or their futures; only time would tell.
One of the main characters, Chaplain Samuel Vickers, struggles with believing God can forgive him when he cannot forgive himself. SamuelÃ¢ÂÂs memory, unbeknownst to him, has blocked out some of the actual events. While he tries to convince Gilbert not to give up on his fiancÃÂ©e, Gilbert nonetheless decides to walk a different path that may lead to destruction. Annemarie has loved Gilbert since they were children; however, the future mother-in-law seems unwilling to postpone the wedding. No matter what Annemarie shares with her future mother-in-law about GilbertÃ¢ÂÂs injuries and frame of mind, there seems to be no way to bring about an understanding of the decisions that concern the couplesÃ¢ÂÂ future. In a moment of haste, Gilbert releases his fiancÃÂ©e from her promise because he believes his physical change makes him half a man.
The suspense of the novel kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning, and IÃ¢ÂÂm glad I took some time to read this book. The audience will find a mystery within a mystery, and the suspense in the story never lets up. During this era, there were differences in social standing that is brought into the tale to help readers understand the characters even more. The friendships forged between soldiers on the front are also witnessed in the way they interact on their voyage back home. These friendships are a source of comfort, understanding and confidentiality that helps bring healing to many a wounded soul.
I have never read a book by this author before, but I will be on the lookout for other fictional tales told by Myra Johnson. The prevalent theme as I read the book seemed to be the heartÃ¢ÂÂs cry for forgiveness, love and hope from God and loved ones. I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt help but be struck by the reminder of the many who have served our nation in other wars who have suffered and been scarred by what they have seen. In this historical tale, we are reminded that time, support, prayers and love help those returning from the war. Even if I guessed where the direction of the plot was going, I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt have imagined how the author brought it to fruition. I really loved reading When Clouds Roll By and I think you will too
November 6, 2013