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I want to preface this review by saying that I went into this already well-versed in the WWII time period, and so I was already somewhat biased in my opinion that this book would be really interesting. It definitely did not disappoint! I was a bit daunted at first by its length - with all three parts, this book totals over 700 pages! Well worth it, but I have a history of taking a long time getting into such lengthy books. The pleasant surprise with this one is that I finished in less than 24 hours! That is a testament to how engrossed I was in the plot and lives of the characters.
Catherine and Caleb McKinney are twins, living alone after their parents died several years ago. Where Caleb is loud and outgoing, Catherine is a homebody, preferring her bedroom to going out dancing every night with her brother and his friends. One friend in particular drives her batty, Henry Bradley, whose sole mission in life seems to be a combination of getting every pretty girl that strolls by and torturing Cat with his constant teasing. When Caleb, Henry, and their friend, Bobby, decide to enlist to fight for their country, Cat is faced with a terrifying prospect - life alone, forever if Caleb doesn't return from the war. She soon starts writing to Caleb, as well as Henry, whose many girlfriends back home have forgotten him. They become close through their letters, but when tragedy strikes, guilt and grief war with the blossoming feelings of love between them. It will be up to both of them to mend their wounds and find comfort in each other.
Both Cat and Henry were such complex characters, that it's hard to really decide how I feel about them. On the one hand, I loved Cat's spunk and courage in the face of enormous adversity and heartache. Henry was a charmer, who meant well but frequently ended up putting his foot in his mouth. That being said, I was frustrated that their conflict dragged on so long. Henry let his girlfriends treat Cat horribly, and it took him a very long time to stand up for her. Several hundred pages too long, in my opinion. If they had just confessed their feelings for each other sooner, perhaps so much grief wouldn't have occurred. It was so emotional and heart-wrenching to see the tug-of-war between them.
Now the next book is called Susan's War, and once you read this book, you will be horrified that that woman hasn't yet taken a long walk off a short pier. She is HORRENDOUS, and now the next book has more of her in it. No, thank you. While Cat's and Henry's story continue in the next book, I will probably call it a day and forego it. I really can't read one more word about Susan. I really cannot.
This is the author's first novel, and I am thoroughly impressed! It's not often that I read a 700+ page book and not fall asleep trying to get through it. Instead I was zooming through it in an attempt to find out what happened next. It was emotional, exhilarating, and just plain amazing. Denise Micka is definitely an author to watch!
**I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.**