Our country has now been at war for almost ten years, but most of us barely know it. It is other people's sons and husbands who are over there, not ours, not for most of us. For most of us, our life goes on in pretty much the same way it does during times of peace. We don't have rationing, we don't have service stars in our windows, we don't have war bonds rallies and we don't work in defense factories (unless we are lucky--Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grummund are considered good places to work, to build a career. The fact of the matter is that while our military may be at war, most of the country is not.
World War II was a different story. The whole country was a war, and soldiers didn't get deployed or six or nine months or even for a year--they were there for the duration, or until they were too injured to send back into combat. The Homecoming is a WWII Christian novel. The hero, Shawn Collins is a bomber pilot who manages to save most of his crew when his plane is shot down. Unfortunately, he is called home because his wife died in a car accident. As his leave comes to an end, he learns that his request for discharge has been denied and that he is being sent on a war bond tour. He hires a social worker who helped his son after his wife's death to be a nanny. The book chronicles their relationship and his relationship with his father and his son. It draws in well-known details of life in the 1940's--movie stars, bond rallies, rationing, and always, the War.
The book was a real tear-jerker. You really feel Shawn's pain about the death of his wife and other death in the book. The character I liked best was Katherine, the nanny. She really seemed to find herself in this book.
The author, Dan Walsh, wrote another book, The Unfinished Gift. Looking at the description of it, I think it was a prequel to this one. There are a few times in The Homecoming when people make comments that seem to come out of nowhere, or that seem to have more significance than the reader of just this book would give them. There is a hint of some backstory, and I'm guessing the backstory is The Unfinished Gift.
The Homecoming is a Christian novel. We go to church with the characters. Katherine accepts Jesus. Shawn talks to the minister about how God could allow his wife to die. If you don't like religious books, there is probably too much religion in this one; however most of it does work in naturally to the story--though there is nothing subtle about the message.
I'd like to thank Donna Hausler at Baker Publishing Group for providing a review copy of this book. The Homecoming is available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.