Home Front by Kristin Hanah and Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

Audiobooks:   Home Front by Kristin Hannah © 2012 Macmillan/St. Martin’s

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse © 2009 Orion Publishing Group

Two reasonably pleasing novels.  Home Front is the story of a soldier who is also a mother and a wife, facing big challenges in all three of her personas.  Hannah obviously worked hard to balance the three areas of conflict for her main character, Jolene.  It might have been better if one particular area was the focus from the get-go.  It was a little difficult to attach emotionally to Jolene because she was so trifurcated.  But Jolene was a believably flawed-yet-good person I could root for.  Her many problems were not all neatly wrapped up in the end, which saved Home Front from coming off as Hallmark-y.

The writing was clear, and I always knew what was going on, which kept me engaged.  Not great, but enjoyable, and worth listening to.

The Winter Ghosts was written in a much different style—very proper British-Edwardian speak.  It, too, involved war, but purely from the perspective of the family left behind rather than the soldier himself.  Freddie has never gotten over his brother’s death in World War I.  In the French Pyrenees in the 1920s, Freddie wrecks his car and has to bushwhack to the nearest time-forgotten village.  There, he falls for a girl named Fabrissa, who may or may not be real.  .

Through Fabrissa, Freddie learns to cope with unresolved grief.  The writing style gives the story an appropriately creepy feel, like Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee horror movies from the 60s, but sometimes made the story hard for this good ol’ Midwestern boy to foller.  Like Home Front, not great, but an enjoyable listen.

I’m keeping both on my shelf.

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