A Book Editor’s Pick: Home Front

By Amy Reilly

In her outstanding new novel, Home Front, author Kristin Hannah tackles marriage, family, and war with grace and insight, using her fictional drama to address the real-life way that our country treats its veterans after they return from combat.

Jolene Zarkades—mother, wife, and Army helicopter pilot—was once passionately in love with her husband, Michael, but now the marriage has cooled into a routine of children and chores, carpools and careers. Before Jo and Michael have a chance to look deeper at any trouble under the surface, Jolene’s National Guard helicopter unit is deployed to Iraq. Suddenly, Jo is literally facing death; but Michael’s mixed feelings about the war get in the way of his giving her the support she needs. Meanwhile, predictably, the couple’s two daughters begin misbehaving as their once-orderly life falls apart.

Throughout the experience, Jo and Michael discover facets of themselves they never knew, while Hannah lets the reader discover the impact that a far-off war can have for all involved. In moving and thoughtful prose, Hannah explores post-traumatic stress disorder, and what to do when someone’s wounds are psychological, and not physical. A powerful story.