Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley for the e ARC of Today We Go Home in exchange for an honest review All opinions are my own omitted description for NetGalley, see blog link for full review So everyone that knows me knows that I am a huge Civil War reader, and this book was an obvious choice for me I have read a few nonfiction books about women in the war, but nothing from a fictional perspective.I honestly didn t care much for Larkin, although she made a lot of excellent points about women in the military and society s perceptions of them I also felt like there was a statement about mental healthcare for veterans in the book, somewhere, as it seemed like a suicidal veteran shouldn t have been discharged from treatment as early as she was, and or the program she was in was lacking effectiveness The themes of suicidal ideations, suicide in general, grief, loss, and coming to terms with traumas were handled fairly lightly as Larkin found an interest, purpose, and then connection to Emily Wilson the Union army soldier I thought Emily s traumas were handled even lighter, I would have loved to know as did Larkin how Emily coped.I loved Emily though, she was a spitfire When she squared up and said she WAS a soldier, I just about put my phone down and clapped for her I feel like the author got a lot of camp details right, but there wasn t a lot of historical information in the book itself That said, there is a fantastic annex of resources in the book for additional reading that I highly recommend checking out.One thing that threw me off was how the historical time period was presented in the ARC some times Larkin would be reading the diary, then sometimes the chapter would be written as if the Civil War period was present day Otherwise I did find it to be a really quick and interesting readI rated it 3 stars because I really loved Emily s chapters, while feeling indifferent towards Larkin s I would totally recommend for anyone interested in women in the military, historical feminism, historical fiction, and good fiction in general Thank you again so much to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the early read The book released September 3rd so by all means check it out if it seems up your alley Seattle, Washington Larkin Bennett Has Always Known Her Place, Whether It S Surrounded By Her Loving Family In The Lush Greenery Of The Pacific Northwest, Or Riding On A Dusty Convoy In Afghanistan But All That Changed The Day Tragedy Struck Her Unit And Took Away Everything She Held Dear Soon After, Larkin Discovers An Unexpected Treasure The Diary Of Emily Wilson, A Young Woman Who Disguised Herself As A Man To Fight For The Union In The Civil War As Larkin Struggles To Heal, She Finds Herself Drawn Deep Into Emily S Life And The Secrets She Kept Indiana, The Only Thing Dangerous To Emily Wilson Than A Rebel Soldier Is Her Own Comrades In The Union But In The Minds Of Her Fellow Soldiers, If It Dresses Like A Man, Swears Like A Man, And Shoots Like A Man, It Must Be A Man As The War Marches On And Takes Its Terrible Toll, Emily Begins To Question Everything She Has Been Told About The Freedom She Is Supposed To Be Fighting For Former military officer Larkin Bennett is back home in Washington, desperately trying to overcome the loss of her best friend Sarah While struggling to recover from severe PTSD, she stumbles upon an old family diary of Sarah s dating back to the Civil War What Larkin unearths within the pages is quite possibly what saves her life Readers are presented with an in depth look at the effects of war from depression to survivors guilt, nightmares to addiction Kelli Estes brilliantly honors, respects and defends our female soldiers This will make a wonderful book club selection. Intersecting stories about female war veterans present day Larkin Bennett copes with PTSD, grief and guilt over the death of her best friend Sarah, as well as her own dishonorable discharge in Afghanistan while reading the Civil War journal kept by an Emily Wilson who enlisted in Indiana s 9th Infantry by posing as a male Union soldier I loved reading author Kelli Estes s true voice in her Afterward, with her passionate respect, honor and defense of all women who serve in the military I learned a lot in this book about soldier s heart, a condition which was also referred to as melancholia or even insanity back in the 1800 s and about what today is classified as Military Sexual Trauma Larkin and Emily s dialog might not ring quite so true, but that didn t slow down the action packed story arc the diary worked perfectly as epistolary device along with the research Larkin did online on women serving in disguise in the Civil War. I was instantly grabbed by the cover of this book The premise had me curiousbetween the two, I just had to read it I m so glad that I was able to read an ARC of this book, so thanks go to NetGalley, the publisher and the author.The main plot of this story was pretty gripping in itself, I couldn t turn away from Larkin s struggle to heal But then the secondary plot reeled me in too, and before I knew it, I d read this in two sittings.Damn real life for interrupting my reading time The characters are compelling, even the secondary ones The places felt so real I could have spit sand and tasted the wine I wanted to hold Larkin s hand and tell her that she would eventually heal.The secondary plot was real too, and very well written Made even captivating by the fact that there were numerous women that did just what Em and Willie did I really admired the way the secondary plot was so integral to the primary.The book is a masterpiece, and one I m sure my partner is tired of hearing me gush about But this book deserves every ounce of praise.It s just that good I received this from Netgalley.com for a review Written in dual timelines, Larkin Bennett was wounded in Afghanistan and is now back home and recovering At the start of the Civil War, Emily Wilson joins the fighting disguised as a man.We get a look at the effects of war from the different eras and the side effects are very similar from depression to survivors guilt, nightmares to addiction 3 Okay, so her hair is completely out of regsbut I suppose I ll check this one out. I received this book from Edelweiss It alternates points of view between a current Afghanistan female war veteran and a woman disguised as a man who fought in the Civil War It is a unique concept which I enjoyed It highlights the bias that women veterans face even today when they serve their country. I ve read there were hundreds of women who fought in that war, most of them disguising themselves as men, although it is impossible to know exact numbers since those known were either women who were discovered or outed themselves in newspaper articles or memoirs written after the war The rest kept their secret hidden or were killed in battle without being discovered Some bodies have been exhumed and found to be women You know how every so often you can come across a book and it just ticks every one of those boxes for you Today We Go Home is one of those books for me A dual narrative set in both the present day and during the American Civil War, I found both eras and storylines equally as compelling and appreciated the way the author linked these two centuries apart women I wonder, when I die, will I see the face of the person who kills me and feel only pain and hatred toward him Or will I see the face of God as his welcoming arms surround me and feel nothing but his love, as Aunt Harriet says happens in Heaven Does God welcome those who have taken the lives of others I took a man s life today Possibly than one, but one I know for certain because we were face to face and if I hadn t killed him first, I would not be here writing these words He was young He was a person with a family waiting at home When I sleep, he is there Taunting me, laughing at me, begging me to spare him Blood, screams, terror, all the horrors of battle fill my dreams and make me wake often I feel covered by that man s blood I love most things about being a soldier, but I despise the killing This novel pays homage to the military service of American women across the centuries It s a novel that doesn t sugar coat the immense sacrifice of both women and men who have given parts of or their entire lives to the US military It digs deep into PTSD and veteran suicide I really appreciated the honesty of this novel as well as the realistic portrayal of what being a woman in the military is like I particularly liked how the author shed some light on lesser known issues, such as the invisibility of women s service Even now, over a hundred and fifty years later, female veterans faced many of the same challenges that Emily did being seen as inferior because of her gender, not being able to find work after being discharged from the military, earning less than men, becoming homeless I am by no means in favour of war, but I certainly am pro respect the military and what they re shouldering for the rest of us Anti war sentiment should never be extended to those who are laying their lives on the line Their sacrifice goes beyond a tour of duty This novel is an outstanding reflection of this and reiterates the need for understanding, compassion, and greater resources for assisting military personnel during and after service Veterans in America have a suicide rate 50 percent higher than those who did not serve in the military in raw terms, this equates to 22 veteran suicides per day That is beyond shocking Soldiers got home and realized they d changed, yet their loved ones expected them to be the same As if facing mortality on a daily basis was normal As if watching friends die was normal As if dedicating your life to your country and that service changing who you are at your very core was normal The civil war history woven into this story made for compelling reading Emily was a character I found much to admire about Her courage and conviction, her yearning to be free all entirely relatable There are some really great themes explored throughout this novel Today We Go Home is top shelf fiction that I don t hesitate to recommend.Thanks is extended to Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Today We Go Home for review. DNFStopped at 43% Read the last 5 chapters as well 8.30.2019I need to start this review by saying that this is a perfectly okay read if you don t read a lot of historical fiction or if you are a lighter book reader, this book even with it s serious topics will be perfect for you and you will than likely love it The two alternating main characters are likable and strong and you have to admire them both Even the dual POV is easy to follow unlike some books and I cannot complain about that That saidThis book was boring for me the two star rating is for the characters and the CW part of the story Very, very, boring The writing is so light For the subject matter, I expected grittier writing and passages that would both wreck me and leave me with what I now term mid book hangover None of that was happening When I got to a particularly tough part of the story, I felt nothing and was shocked to realize I was not even remotely emotionally upset That speaks volumes to me about how bland the writing is I have read many books about both the Civil War and the War in Afghanistan both NF and HF and have bawled my way through many of them I just finished an amazing book about refugees from Syria that wrecked me Completely and utterly wrecked me I SHOULD be feeling something here and I am not, and I can only attribute it to the writing Because I do like the characters and the Civil War story is particularly good and probably the strongest part of this book , but it is NOT enough to make me want to try and finish this I am so very disappointed, because this has such great potential for me I am sorry that it fell short I know it didn t for many and will continue to not fall short for many and that was my struggle in deciding to finish it or not, but in the end, I wasn t engaged enough to keep going on A Note Some of the best of the book comes at the end and with the author s note I recommend looking up both the people she talks about and the books listed there it is one of the many ways we can honor all the women that have served, both acknowledged and unacknowledged Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Kelli Estes grew up in apple country near Yakima, Washington before attending Arizona State University where she learned she is happiest living near the water Today she lives near Seattle with her husband and two sons When not writing, Kelli is hiking, reading, exploring, traveling, or drinking tea Find her at
- 416 pages
- Today We Go Home
- Kelli Estes
- 14 October 2017 Kelli Estes