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Monday Puzzler > October 27 Puzzler: Wounds of War

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message 1: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
I’ve read an unusually large number of novels recently—historicals and contemporaries—about characters whose lives were changed by war. Romance novels featuring characters with PTSD are common now, but it is still unusual for that character to be a woman. It was even more unusual when this oldie was published, but it remains one of the best romances about the costs paid by those who serve. I must have read it at least half a dozen times, and it still makes me cry, and I count it among the most deserved HEAs of all time.

“A rocket hit our ward,” she said. “Humbug threw himself on me to protect me. He was killed. I held him in my arms, but he was already dead.”

“What about Jimmy?”

She shrugged. “He died, too. He was going to die anyway. I should have known better, just like everybody said.”

Hero wrapped his arms around her so she didn’t have to feel the wind, so the gulls didn’t sound so lost. She still wept. “Just like Humbug said.”

“How old was Jimmy, Heroine?”

“Eighteen. Jimmy was eighteen. He died on his birthday.”

…Hero held her, but he couldn’t help her. He murmured to her, but she stood deaf, her body shaking with the memory of the one boy who had been too much. An eighteen-year-old who had died on his birthday, and Heroine left behind to hold her friend in her arms…Hero… just held Heroine in his arms and let his heart break. He’d seen what she’d brought with her from that old steamer trunk. …Her medals. Her service ribbons....

Hero understood. The day he’d come home from Vietnam, he’d closed up his ribbons and medals in a box and left them in the bottom drawer of his mother’s breakfront. He hadn’t worn them on his service uniform for the rest of his tour or brought them out on Veterans Day. He hadn’t even had the courage to look at them for another fifteen years.

“Now you know,” she said, her voice flat and empty. “You know why I didn’t want to see you, why I’ve avoided The Wall like the plague. Why I’d rather just get on with my life and leave the rest where it belongs. Not a very worthy story, but all I have.”


message 2: by Charlene (new)

Charlene (charlenethestickler) | 320 comments No idea, but it certainly looks like a story I'd like to read.


message 3: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2093 comments Mod
I know I haven't read this but I would like to. I have a guess as to author


message 4: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1916 comments Mod
I have no idea.


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Hill | 487 comments Oh I love it! One of my favorite ladies has PTSD from Iraq when she was blown up in her humvee as a combat medic. I feel like service women don't get as much exposure. It makes me really want to read this! I always feel so badly for the Vietnam vets.


message 6: by Cheri (new)

Cheri (cvenable16) | 136 comments No clue, I've never read these kinds of stories, didn't even realize they were out there. Interesting....


message 7: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
The puzzler is from A Soldier’s Heart by Kathleen Korbel, a 1995 Rita-winning contemporary. It has been out of print, but the author, aka Eileen Dreyer, has announced that she will be releasing new editions of her books written under the Korbel name soon. I highly recommend this one and other Korbel books.


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 1017 comments Thanks, Janga!
I have loved Eileen Dreyer's military heroes in historical romance, so I'll need to look for this one!


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