Deborah is a hospice nurse, taking care of those with terminal illnesses nearing the end of their life. She's known for "sticking", not giving up on her patients. She needs this exact trait when her husband comes home from his third tour of duty in Iraq a broken man. He is very distant and obviously suffering. When Deborah gets her next assignment with a crotchety professor with no family, she doesn't realize that he'll help her as much as she helps him.
This book has three very interesting subject matters that could hold a story by themselves: end-of-life hospice care, being the wife of a returning vet with PTSD, and a WWII Japanese pilot who dropped a bomb on the Oregon coast, setting fire to the forests. At first, I was a little irritated that Kiernan was combining these three powerful stories together in to one, but it worked. The WWII story was from the patient which taught lessons to Deb about how to best care for her husband. In the beginning, I was much more drawn to Deb's story and when the narrative switched over to the Japanese pilot, it was a bit slower. Eventually I got used to the switch of pace in the book.
I was moved by this book. You can't help but wonder how you would react if you were in Deborah's situation and how you would handle your husband returning a broken man. The ending almost had me in tears, which is very unusual for me. I'm sure some people could find this book depressing. I, on the other hand, found it rather uplifting and hopeful.
This is my second novel by Kiernan (read my review for his other work, The Curiosity). I find his writing style easy to get in to and hard to put down. I'll be sure to pick up any other fiction work he puts out in the future.
One of my best reads of the year!
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour.
First Line: "All I knew at the beginning was that the first two nurses assigned to the Professor had not lasted twelve days, and now it was my turn."
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