French Letters: Engaged in War by Jack Woodville London
Publication Date: September, 2010
Publisher: Vire Press
Format: Paperback, 328 pp
Genre: General Fiction
(Received for review from Phenix & Phenix Publicity)
Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):
French Letters: Engaged in War, is the second book in the French Letters trilogy. The companion to Virginia's War, it is the story of Will Hastings, an army doctor caught up in the D-Day landings in Normandy and the drive to capture St. Lo, France. Isolated from Virginia Sullivan and the events taking place at home, Will faces the demands of combat surgery under and the losses of his brother, his friends, and his connection to home. Historically accurate and precise and covering events from exactly the same time frame as the events in the first volume, Engaged in War is a novel of the will to survive when war, distance, loss, and the uncertainty of the future separate a couple far beyond the breaking point.
The second volume in the French Letters trilogy is written from the perspective of Will Hastings, army doctor during WWII. The first book, Virginia's War was written from the perspective of Will's girlfriend, Virgina at home in Texas. The events of both books take place at the same time and chronicle the events taking place in each respective place. Virginia's story on the home front and Will's story on the front lines of the war in France. Author, Jack Woodville London has created a book that takes place during WWII, but really isn't about the war. I know that doesn't sound possible, but it's true, French Letters: Engaged in War is more about the impact of the war, rather than the war itself. It is about the people that war affects and how their choices in turn affect society as a whole.
Will is faced with many conflicts and choices on the battlefield. When he lands in Normandy during the D-Day landings he is forced to make a choice between trying to find out what happened to his brother and helping those who are critically injured and need his assistance. Will quickly learns that on the battlefield it's all about choice. He has limited training and finds himself overwhelmed with the challenges of combat surgery in theater. Some of his choices lead to some startling consequences for his career and his life.
London's descriptions of Normandy, the people and it's culture will captivate the reader who is interested in France during this time period, while also appealing to a wide range of readers with different interests. I am not a person who generally reads a lot of novels set in war times because I sometimes find that depressing, since I have friends and family who are currently overseas fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, this book was different. It was focused more on the characters themselves than the setting of the war. It dealt more with how one choice can change everything, especially in a life and death situation.
I liked this book a lot and look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy. I recommend it to anyone who is a history buff as well as those who like stories that are based on relationships and consequences.
French Letters: Engaged in War is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I am giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Here is some additional information about Jack Woodville London.
A Native Texan, Jack Woodville London is twice-recognized as a Super Lawyer by his peers. He graduated from West Texas State University in history and foreign relations before earning Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He served in the Army as a quartermaster officer and has traveled extensively while pursuing his interests in literature and history. His first novel, French Letters: Virginia's War, has been honored three distinctly different best-finalist awards. Novels with Romantic Element by Dear Author, Best Historical Novel of the Year by MWSA, and Willie Morris Best Novel of the South the Williams foundation.