Book Review: Home Front by Kristin Hannah

January 31st, 2012

Home Front, Kristin Hannah’s newest novel, affected me on so many levels. It tells the story of how a family deals with life when one of the parents is deployed to Iraq. It paints a very real picture of how people’s lives are affected by war. Not only does the war greatly change the life of the service person, it also really has a huge impact on those left on the home front trying to deal with the absence of their family member.

Jolene is in the military as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot for the National Guard. She’s been training since she was eighteen years old which is when she met her best friend Tami and they’ve been flying together since. She met Michael, her now husband, first as a young woman when her parents had both died. He told her to come back when she was older and that’s just what she did. They were meant to be. Years later they have two daughters Betsy and Lucy. As life goes, the marriage seems to be on some pretty rough ground and when one night Michael tells Jolene he no longer loves her, she is stunned.

One thing to understand about Jolene is she had a bad childhood and was the product of two parents who showed her no love at all. Her life is all about the love she has for her husband and children but her positivity and always looking on the bright side is beginning to get to her husband. Jolene has no idea what to do – will they get a divorce. Well she doesn’t have long to wonder because within days she is deployed. Michael is livid as he has never supported her service in the army. He doesn’t agree with the war and therefore doesn’t agree with her putting so much time into it and now to leave her daughters who need her so much – well he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t stop to think about how hard it is for Jolene to leave her girls.

Jolene and Tami leave and life in Iraq is even worse than they had imagined. They are constantly in danger. Home is what keeps them going but for Jolene her thoughts always venture to the night her husband told her he didn’t love her anymore. Michael, back at home, is getting a quick lesson in how to be a parent and pretty much sucking at it at first. However as time goes on Michael begins to realize how important family is and the value of spending time with them. At the same time he begins to question his feelings for Jolene again, wondering if not part of the problem laid with him and his issues.

That’s all I’m going to say because to say more would ruin the story for others. I loved this book. I loved the story and the sentimentality that went along with it. I suggest a box of tissues when you sit down with this novel. What I really took away from this novel was a new-found respect for our military. I have always had nothing but respect and awe for all that they do for us but what I found with this book is I put myself in the shoes of those going; those having to walk away from their children into such an unknown future. When you think about the horrors they experience at war and then come home, often wounded in ways we can’t imagine, they really need our support and understanding. They’ve fought for us – now we need to step up and fight for them.

Home Front will stay with me for a long while. It’s one of those stories that I enjoyed and read quickly but more than that it really made me think and those types of stories I do not forget. An excellent read!

Source:  Review copy provided by the publicist.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are solely my own.

41 Comments to “Book Review: Home Front by Kristin Hannah”

  1. Mystica says:

    This sounds a wonderful book.

  2. Glad you really enjoyed this one Dar. I wasn’t quite as thrilled even though it was an important story to tell.

    • admin says:

      Diane, I was a little worried after reading your review that I may not like it but I do like sappy books – you know that – so it worked for me.

  3. Mary says:

    Sounds like a powerful novel, Dar. Thanks for telling us about it!

  4. Tea Time with Marce says:

    Love Kristin Hannah so glad to hear this is also great, Night Road was one of my favorites last year.

    She does the emotional reads so well with you thinking about the issue after.

  5. Great review, Dar. I’m a big fan of Kristin Hannah’s – will add this one to my pile! Still have to get to TRUE COLORS.

    • admin says:

      Hi Millenia, I know you like Kristin Hannah. I think you’d love this one. I have True Colors on my shelf as well and I’ve been listening to Night Road which I need to get back to.

  6. blodeuedd says:

    Her books are certainly popular at the library :) Though i have yet to read one

    • admin says:

      Linda, her books are quite popular. I really only started reading them in the last year or so. I have lots to catch up on.

  7. zibilee says:

    I have never read a Kristen Hannah book before, but I have heard so many good things about her work, and I am excited to read this one. I can see that you had a really good reaction to this one, and that bodes well for me. This was a really wonderful review, Dar! I loved reading your thoughts!

    • admin says:

      Heather, I’d love to see what you’ll think of this one. She certainly does have a lot of fans and I think for good reason. She really works on your emotions in her novels.

  8. I am so glad you liked Home Front, Dar! There were times in the book I actually found myself not happy with almost every character in the book. It was nice to see no one was perfect int his book. They all had flaws. This story is still on my mind. I thought it was an important story to tell. We don’t hear much about the service members coming back and what they deal with after being in such a horrible war zone. It is certain to cause emotional scars which I am not so sure get treated all the time. Great review!

    • admin says:

      Beth(bookaholicmom), you’re right nobody was perfect in this book and I liked that as well. She portrayed a troubled marriage quite well.

      This book will stick with me for quite a while I think. We’ve been hearing a lot on the news here about the issues that the service members coming back have and what can be done for them. I really hope they can get the help they need as they deserve it after all they’ve done for us.

  9. Anna says:

    So glad to see you enjoyed it!

  10. Ti says:

    Tough topic for sure. I haven’t read anything by this author but I love good, flawed characters and that sounds like the case here.

    • admin says:

      Ti, these characters were definitely flawed. I liked that they both had issues. Sometimes a book points at one and well and that’s not always the case. I think putting this story out there raises awareness about our service members and that alone is the most important thing.

  11. Lana says:

    Your description of this book makes it sound much better than what I had previously read about it online. I may have to borrow this one from the library. May I ask if you read Night Road (which I could not put down) and how this stacks up against it?

    • admin says:

      Lana, I’m not sure the description online does it justice but it also depends on what you look for in a book. I love the emotional heart tugging aspect of it and some don’t. I am actually listening to Night Road right now and I think both are equally as good. I know I didn’t want to put this one down at all.

  12. Leslie says:

    You liked this one a lot more than I did. While I agree it was an important story, and I enjoyed learning more about the military and how families struggle when a parent is gone, it got a bit too sentimental for me. I also struggled with how unlikeable most of the characters were, although I adored the grandmother.

    • admin says:

      Leslie, I like sentimental so that’s where I liked it more than some did. I liked seeing the other side of the family situation in the military as well. We don’t always remember the struggles of those left at home and this novel really brought that to the forefront. I’d love a grandmother like that – I also like how she was always setting her son straight.

  13. Na S. says:

    I love all the Kristin Hannah books I’ve read and I cannot wait to read more. It makes me a little sad that once I do read this it’ll be one more year before her next book.

    • admin says:

      Na, I’ve only read a few of hers but I really like her writing style so I’ll be trying to catch up on all her old ones.

  14. I have been reading all kinds of great reviews for this book!
    Now I am REALLY excited about getting this book!

  15. TheBookGirl says:

    I read Night Road last year and thought it was amazing; it was so emotionally wrenching for me. Sounds like this one would be similar.

    • admin says:

      Beth(bookgirl), I am listening to Night Road right now and it’s really good as well. This one is emotionally wrenching for sure – that’s one of the things that really appealed to me.

  16. Muzette says:

    While I totally love your book reviews, I happened to notice that you watch The Bachelor. It’s my guilty vice. Every season I tell myself I’m not going to watch it again, then I tell myself I’m only going to watch the initial episode to see all the girls (or guys) that come on the show. THEN, I’m drawn in, suckered into watching it every week. In spite of the fact that I spend so much time making fun of the girls (or guys) and the drama, then yelling at the Bachelor (or Bachelorette) at the rose ceremony. It’s exhausting. And we only have 5 more days until it’s on again!!! LOL!

  17. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    I have two of her books sitting on my shelves. I’m pretty sure I picked one of them to read in my 52 weeks challenge. She sounds like a great writer. I know my SIL loves her stuff!!

    • admin says:

      Staci, I really do enjoy her writing and I can’t wait to find the time to read more of her stuff. I’ve been listening to Night Road and it’s good too.

  18. Samantha says:

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this one so much! This is an author that I have been meaning to try for some time now..I think I have one of her books patiently waiting for me on my shelves. Great review Darlene!

  19. [...] you know I loved Kristin Hannah’s newest book Home Front (my review).  It’s a book that wakes you up to the realities of a military family – those that go [...]

  20. [...] serious ARC envy going on!  One of my favorite reviews of this book is from Darlene over at the Peeking Between the Pages [...]

  21. Molly says:

    Ahhhh — the newest Kristin Hannah book. Perfect for the day it came in the mail – a windy, rainy autumn day. I snuggled in knowing full well that once I got started reading, I wouldn’t budge until I finished. The only negative thing about reading a Kristin Hannah book is knowing I’ll have to wait a year until the next one. I have come to expect not only a quality read, but one in which I will be emotionally involved. As a reader I don’t feel like I’m merely a spectator to the drama in a Kristin Hannah book. I become part of it. HOME FRONT was all I expected–and more.

    Hannah’s keen observations of the human condition and family life along with her spot-on descriptions of the landscape further makes the reader one with the story. The mist on Liberty Bay is as keenly felt as the heat and sand in Iraq. Kristin Hannah is simply one of the best, if not THE best writer of women’s fiction today. Read HOME FRONT and see why she is beloved by so many readers.

    Have a nice day,
    Molly

  22. Eunice Richards says:

    I just got through reading Home Front, and your desc is perfect. The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that it didnt last forever. But then I feel like this about all her books. I think I have most of them. I buy them from Costco and have been annoyed with them for not having them. But I understand now cause she takes a long time to write them. IT IS WORTH IT!
    Love her. Her books stay with me a long time and I know Home Front may never go away!

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