He’d fought the war as few men could. The real terror waited at home.
This is the third book I have read by this author and I have to think, he just keeps on getting better and better. This is another one of those stories that when I completed the last page, I thought I am ever so happy I had the opportunity to read this tale. The winds of war blew heavily through this family, taking away harshly much of what they held dear, and left them swept with anguish, loss and the desire to return to normalcy knowing that they never could.
It’s always hard to read about war, but sometimes reading about its aftermath is even harder. The people left behind, the families devastated, and the lives that have been damaged and changed can never be forgotten or even understood by those not touched by the conflict. War’s aftermath produces hardship, loss, and pain in all touched by its malevolent hand. It’s a walk through hell for many and in this new book of John Hart’s, The Unwilling, we learn of the tragedy experienced by the French family.
A son, Robert, has been killed in Vietnam. Another son, Jason, a three time tour of duty soldier, has been ravaged by the war. He returns a drug addict, a man haunted by many ghosts, a son given up on by his mother, a brother who is beloved by his young brother Gibby.
There is a father, devastated by the loss of his eldest son, compelled to alienate his next son because of his job in law enforcement, and endeavoring to keep his youngest son away from his brother.
Then there is Gibby, the youngest son, so desirous of a connection to his brother, willing to do whatever to establish a link, to find a brother that he doesn’t want to be lost to him.
Then one stupid event changes everything and starts in motion a dangerous and deadly journey that will end tragically for some, reveal secrets from others, and take the reader on a exploration of family, of ties that bind, of courage and the will to survive.
This gritty pragmatic book will sink its tentacles into you as you descend deeper into the harsh reality that faced this family and so many others who returned from war, broken, in need, and facing a world that seemed to banish them. Mr Hart has probed deeply into family, its role, its place in the life of children who are left unknowing and bereft in the face of loss. Perhaps this book is a difficult one to read, to assimilate in times such as this, but it is a testament to the ties that bind, the roles we play and the relationships we build with parents and our siblings. Truly this is a book worth reading.
Thank you to John Hart for such a powerful message, St Martin’s Press, and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book due out June 23, 2020.