No one was anticipating the news more than families. Those looking for an end to the war were hoping that today would be different, and that they would receive news that it was finally over and the men and women would soon be returning home to waiting families and soon-to-be families. Yet not everyone was overly happy.
Annemarie Kendall knew things had changed over the time Gilbert Ballard has been serving in the war without ever speaking to him. The tone in his letters and what he wasn't saying, lead Annemarie to believe that Gilbert had changed. Sure she knew that he had suffered the loss of his leg as well as injured his arm but isn't love suppose to conquer all? Even war? Now facing him as she waits with her family and Gilbert's family to welcome him home, Annemarie is certain it will definitely be an unforgettable homecoming and one that will change the lives of them all now that the war is over. All Annemarie can hope is that she can show Gilbert that no matter what, she'll be with him all the way to the end.
Lt. Gilbert Ballard has been trying to imagine how he will manage now that he is half a man. Definitely not the man who conveyed his undying love and dedication to Annemarie before he left for the war. All he has been able to do it look at the faded photograph to help him remember what he had waiting for him when he returned back to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Not only a well-to-do family, but also the love of a woman who he had known his whole life. Beautiful beyond measure, she made sure to let him know how much she continued to love and support him, but how would Gilbert be able to provide for Annemarie now? He only hoped he could have enough courage to push past the pity she would feel for him and be grateful they hadn't married before the war.
Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary has been by Gilbert's side often fearing that the post traumatic stress disorder that is pulling at Gilbert will be able to be overcome when he reunites with Annemarie. He worried that during the long train trip home that Gilbert might find a way to take his own life without giving Annemarie a chance to show Gilbert that nothing has changed between them, even though in Gilbert's mind it has. If only he wasn't so drawn by her beauty and Gilbert's description of her kindness, he might be able to help more. But Samuel has his own war demons to face and one that has him questioning his own faith in God during the horrors he witnessed during the war. Would any of them be able to forget and move forward or will have the war changed them all forever?
I received When The Clouds Roll By by author Myra Johnson compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. My love for history coupled with an unforgettable romance between Gilbert and Annemarie as well as the love of Samuel to help his two friends while the war continues to consume lives even though it's long over. This one is poignant and compelling, making me turn page after page in wondering in anticipation if it would turn out as expected. I was not disappointed. This is the story of being lost and then found and what happens when we let our feelings gain control over what we really want deep down inside. There is courage to be found in facing what we fear the most and I believe Myra Johnson did just that in this novel. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars! This is the first novel in the Til We Meet Again Series and one I will be watching for!
When the Clouds Roll By is a book I recommend for church libraries as well as book clubs. World War I is a popular era for fiction, and books like this one are a welcome addition to the genre of historical fiction as well as Christian fiction