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One Was a Soldier (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #7)
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One Was a Soldier (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries #7)

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  2,977 ratings  ·  459 reviews

On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town.

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilo

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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Minotaur Books (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jocelyn
The title of this book was taken from an Anglican hymn -- a children's classic for All Saints' Day.

Here's my book review, with apologies to Lesbia Scott:


I sing a song about Russ and Clare,
Patient and brave and true,
Who toiled and fought and laughed and cried
For a love they had cause to rue.
And Clare was a soldier and also a priest,
And Russ was a vet and a chief of police.
And if you liked the first six books, then at least
I think you'll like this one, too!

They loved each other so dear, so dear,
An
...more
Lightreads
I’m going to do this series a disservice and just babble on here at the current stopping point, instead of talking about each book individually. Even though the individual books are trying a lot of different and interesting things with structure, usually successfully.

I read these in one sustained gulp through a work slump and summer insomnia. And I kept thinking confusedly “but I don’t like this sort of thing!” as I lunged desperately for the next book.

“This sort of thing” being improbable serie
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Melissa Proffitt
I think this book brings us closer to the earlier books in the series, where the mystery is nearly as important as the personal relationships (unlike All Mortal Flesh and I Shall Not Want). The title is a great quote, though misleading because there are five soldiers involved, four of the five connected through earlier events in the series. (view spoiler) ...more
Lyssa
Those that know me, know that several authors' new releases cause me to whoop with delight. Julia Spencer Fleming's release “One Was A Soldier” did more than that. When I received my copy of the book I danced around the house. But while a fan of the Miller's Kill series I also wanted to review it. To look at it and see where it went right or wrong while trying to stuff the “happy, happy, joy, joy” monster back in place and to try and give you an honest, NO SPOILERS review of this latest offering ...more
Cacophony
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cory
I was so excited about this book, but I felt like it was a huge departure from the rest of the series. In the other books, the mysteries tend to be a bit sloppy or overwrought but the personal tension between Clare and Russ is SO PALPABLE that it doesn't matter. In this book, the mystery came around better but I could barely tell Russ and Clare were in love. Also, I know Clare was having a hard time with PTSD, but this whole thing about, "Russ loved Linda, I'm no Linda"? ?! Where was she for the ...more
Kat Collins
(This is a review of the series as a whole). In the span of three weeks, I’ve finished an entire series of 7 novels. Call me crazy or obsessed, but I couldn’t put them down. And now I’m waiting impatiently for the next one! (It’s not out yet…come on Julia…write faster!)

I’m always struck by a series of books where I can fall in love with the characters, ride along with them on their adventures, and feel invested in every nuance and facet of their lives. The Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne myster
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Sam
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hallie
[GR ate my review, only partly saved from Drive, so apologies if there are more typos than normal.]

It’s pretty clear by now that my “Clare Fergusson / Russ Van Alystyne novel” reviews are anything but pretty, and this will be no exception. (It’s not really even a “review”, as it’s too personal.) Safe with the usual caveats, and then, there’s the title, which gives a massive hint.

Anyway, after the satisfying climax (pause for me to snigger immaturely) of I Shall Not Want, and the less disturbing
...more
Jennifer
Julia Spencer-Fleming pulls out all the stops with this story, and it pays off. It takes place a year and a half after I Shall Not Want, and changes abound for major and minor characters. The most significant, of course, lie in Russ and Clare's relationship. And Clare has issues to deal with as a result of her posting to Iraq. The main plot, in fact, circles around the veterans' support group Clare joins, and a series of events that spark her curiosity (and help her shut out the pain and fear sh ...more
Katie
I'm all caught up and now I have to wait and wait for a new one. (It comes out Tuesday, haha.)

(view spoiler)
...more
Anna Elliott
I received a copy of this book as part of the early reviews program (yay! my first time EVER winning something!) and was thrilled because this was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. I've read (and loved!) all the previous books in Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson/ Russ Van Alstyne mystery series, so my expectations were high. And One Was a Soldier didn't disappoint, I absolutely loved it.

I Shall Not Want, the previous book in the series, ended with Clare and Russ finally
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Quillracer
I’ve read all but one of the books in this series and that was an earlier one where Clare and Russ were still doing the ‘We should. We shouldn’t’ dance (so I don’t think I’ve missed anything important). I enjoyed the books but never felt that ‘turn the page’ urge I’ve felt with other authors. One Was A Soldier made me want to turn the page.

I can’t imagine what people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan went through nor the toll it took on their minds and bodies, but I can imagine how hard it must
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Carol
I waited for this book for a very, very long time. I'm happy to say that the wait was worth it. This story was different from the action-packed mysteries of the others in the series. The actual "mystery" of this seemed almost behind-the-scenes. The real drama came from the damaged soldiers returning to Millers Kill and trying to get their lives back. Julia Spencer-Fleming did her usual excellent job of presenting the characters we know and love and care about. The banter wasn't as funny as usual ...more
Barbara
Oh wow, the wait was worth it. This 7th book in the series featuring Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson and Millers Kill Chief of Police Russ van Alstyne is an amazing, emotional roller-coaster ride. I will confess up front that I went through half a box of tissues.
Clare is now safely home from the war zone and trying to pick up the pieces of her life, including her romance with Russ. However, she brings home some really heavy emotional baggage that leads her to join a therapy group, with several
...more
Lynn
I love the development and growth of the characters in this series, not only Clare and Russ, but everyone in Millers Kill. I feel like I've gotten to know so many of the inhabitants, some very well, and some as passing acquaintances. The people and the town are so genuine. I can’t wait to see what happens next to Russ and Clare, of course, but also to Hadley and Kevin, to Lyle and Harlene and everyone else on the police force, to the Stillman’s and the Ellis’ and the rest of the townsfolk.
I alm
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Carol
I definitely in my comfort zone with this 7th outing of the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne. By this I mean I know what to expect. The mysteries are different but the characters are pretty well set in my mind and I'm not all that surprised at their actions.

The best of One Was a Soldier is the exploration Spencer-Fleming includes on PTSD. Rev. Fergusson is back from her stint in Iraq and along with her duffle she brings back a whole lot of baggage. She joins a group and it here that we are able
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Book Binge Blog
This is the 7th in this series of mystery/romances and picks up the saga of this little town in upstate New York and its residents. Chief among those citizens in Russ and Clare, two people from very different walks of life, who share a history in the military, who are separated in age by more than a decade, and who have finally acknowledged their growing love for one another. But that love had to be put on hold during the 18 months Clare spent in Iraq, not as a chaplain but as a helicopter pilot ...more
chanceofbooks
Originally posted as a Friday Pick of the Week at Cloudy with a Chance of Books http://www.chanceofbooks.com

There are only two authors for whom I will religiously preorder hardcover—without reading blurbs, regardless of reviews, and regardless of whether we’ll be dining on more beans that month. When I realized that Suzanne Brockmann and Julia Spencer-Fleming BOTH had releases within a month of each other this year, I felt a bit like I do every December—my birthday and Christmas also happen in
...more
Brianne
Wow. couldnt put this book down!

The one line that has linked Clare and Russ throughout all of the books is "Holding on. Not letting go." That seems a good way to sum up so many of the storylines in this book. This book focuses on the lives and experiences of 5 returning service members - 4 of whom we have already met in the series. It delves into what the transisiton back to civilian life is for them and how they are dealing with the issues they bring back with them (which are different for eac
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Steve
This is a quantum leap over the earlier Rev Clare & Chief Van Alstyne book that I read a few years ago. Spencer-Fleming has matured tremendously and her different stories and layers in this book straddle the fine line between character-driven literary fiction and solid mystery. Whichever mode is your cup of tea, you should check this book out.

Several different plots involving service veterans with emotional or physical problems tie this book together, and when one member of their therapy gro
...more
Dorie
Although I did enjoy reading this book, I had a lot of problems with it. After reading and enjoying the previous six novels in the series, this is the first one I can remember where Claire annoyed me. Her denial and obstinacy in failing to deal with her own problems, while quick to point out and deal with other people’s, was annoying in itself. But deliberately going behind Russ’s back and interfering with a police investigation (and taking a malicious glee in doing so) angered me and made me lo ...more
Kathy
Spectacular! Great to end my catching up in the series with a bang. Now, unfortunately, I have to wait until November for the next installment. This wait is made slightly more bearable by the upcoming Bouchercon, where I will be able to meet Julia Spencer-Fleming and gush in person to her about her novels.

One Was a Soldier deals with Clare's return to Millers Kill after an 18-month deployment to Iraq. She is among several others who are returning to the small town, including a deputy of Police C
...more
J.D.
When I tell some people that one of my favorite mystery series features a female Episcopal priest as the main character, they act as if they expect the Rev. Clare Fergusson to be some cozy-fied, charming old cleric with a twinkle in her eye and a ready supply of quaint homilies for every occasion. Nope. Julia Spencer-Fleming writes about passionate, headstrong people with complicated emotional lives, and she does it in a way that brings them beautifully to life on the page.

In this one, the Rever
...more
Lourdes Venard
In what may be her best book to date, Spencer-Fleming writes about the soldiers who return from war, and the scars they carry, emotional as well as physical. Clare Fergusson is among those -- she has returned from an 18-month tour in Iraq and is suffering from flashbacks; she can't function without taking uppers, downers and painkillers, mixed with alcohol, a secret she hides from everyone. She join a veteran's support group where she finds four others in similar situations: police officer Eric ...more
Judy
Rev. Clare Fergusson, Eric McCrea, Will Ellis, Dr. Trip Stillman, and Tally McNabb--all five of these individuals served in Iraq and all five came home as damaged versions of themselves. The five come together in a veterans group where they can discuss their PTSD and the problems they are having adjusting to their return to civilian life. Will used to be a track star and now he is a double amputee. Eric McCrea has uncontrollable anger issues that threaten both his job and his marriage. Dr. Trip ...more
Viccy
Clare Fergusson returns to Millers Kill, NY from Iraq and Russ Van Alystne is there to greet her. However, no one knows she is now addicted to speed and downers (go, no-go pills) from her service, washed down by generous amounts of whiskey. Life in a combat zone is hard. Clare joins a group of other Millers Kill veterans in group therapy and soon, one of them has tried to commit suicide and another one succeeds. But what caused Tally McNabb to shoot herself? As Clare begins to investigate, her r ...more
JoAnne Pulcino
ONE WAS A SOLDIER
Julie Spencer Fleming
This is an extremely intelligent and well written book that is the seventh in the series featuring Reverend Clare Fergusson and her not so secret lover, police chief, Russ Van Alstyne that takes place in Millers Kill New York.
When Episcopalian priest Clare returns from an extended tour as a National Guard helicopter pilot in Iraq, she cannot face up to her addiction to alcohol and pills even in a counseling group of Iraq veterans. This group of returning vet
...more
Barbara Bryant
After one has waited a year and a half beyond the original pub date for a book to come out, the book had better be good. The pressure is heavy on this one--the seventh in a series of mysteries featuring two main characters--Clare Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, the chief of police in the small upper New York state town of Miller's Kill. This review will not contain spoilers, but will assume that most readers have read some of the series before this point.

A few happy notes-
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Mimi Smith
3.5 stars

I really loved this whole series. Great mysteries, characters and such emotions...

Just wanted to put up this quote:

“I want to be married because I like those easy-to-understand, boring definitions. Husband. Wife. I want to be married because life is short, and I want to spend whatever I have left of it with you, every day, every night. I want to be married so that everything I have and everything I am is yours, and everything of you is mine. And I want to be married so I can lay you out
...more
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The Narthex: Discussion 3 11 Jul 17, 2012 05:47PM  
  • No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14)
  • Though Not Dead (Kate Shugak, #18)
  • By Stone, by Blade, by Fire
  • Southern Discomfort (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #2)
  • Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6)
  • A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8)
  • Desert Wives (A Lena Jones Mystery #2)
  • Trespasser (Mike Bowditch, #2)
  • Where Shadows Dance (Sebastian St. Cyr, #6)
  • Disturbance (Irene Kelly, #11)
33986
Wednesday, September 7

Work-In-Progress Wednesday at my Reader Space. We're up to the fifth part of the second chapter of my eighth book, which has some numerological meaning, I'm sure. http://bit.ly/p2QwJa
More about Julia Spencer-Fleming...
In the Bleak Midwinter (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #1) I Shall Not Want (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #6) A Fountain Filled With Blood (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #2) Out of the Deep I Cry (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #3) All Mortal Flesh (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #5)

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