It is always exciting for me to get a book review request about a fictional book having to do with Military families. I always enjoy reading them because they each offer a different perspective on war and living life as a Military spouse. I had the opportunity to review Blue Stars by Emily Gray Tedrowe and just finished the book last week.
BLUE STARS brings to life the realities of the modern day home front: how to get through the daily challenges of motherhood and holding down a job while bearing the stress and uncertainty of war, when everything can change in an instant. It tells the story of Ellen, a Midwestern literature professor, who is drawn into the war when her legal ward Michael enlists as a Marine; and of Lacey, a proud Army wife who struggles to pay the bills and keep things going for her son while her husband is deployed. When Michael and Eddie are injured in Iraq, Ellen and Lacey’s lives become intertwined in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where each woman must live while caring for her wounded soldier. They form an alliance, and an unlikely friendship, while helping each other survive the dislocated world of the army hospital. In the end, both women are changed, not only by the war and its fallout, but by each other.
What I liked best about this book is the two different women we get to learn about. Neither one is your typical Military spouse, if there is such a thing. One is the adoptive mother and the other is the wife who married her Army husband later in life. They both experience so many emotions during the book and it is so hard to know how I would have handled the situations they went through. Knowing that my husband could have been in their loved one’s shoes was humbling as well.
Ellen is not someone who ever saw herself in the role she was put in. That makes for an interesting point of view. I liked how the author explained how she was feeling and how she was dealing with it all.
Lacey’s story is very different from Ellen’s but the two come together because of Walter Reed. It is an unlikely friendship but one that I know happens time and time again just because two people are going through the same sort of difficulties. I have seen it happen in my own life.
I have heard stories about Walter Reed but not like this. I never knew what the day-to-day looked like and it seems like this book does a good job of letting the reader know what it can be like to sit by your loved one who is there because they were injured overseas.
EMILY GRAY TEDROWE is the author of Commuters: A Novel, which was named a Best New Paperback by Entertainment Weekly. Her short fiction has been published in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, Fifty-Two Stories, and Other Voices. Her new novel, Blue Stars, was conceived during her brother’s Marine service in the Iraq war. Originally from New York City, Emily now lives in Chicago with her husband and daughters. For more information visit her website at www.emilygraytedrowe.com
I received a free copy of this book for review. This post does contain an affiliate link.