Customer Reviews for

One Was a Soldier (Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Series #7)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

This book has it all

I loved this book. I think it may be my favorite in the series. The story was great. I liked that it dealt with those returning from war and the impact of it on their trying to adjust back to the life they left. It felt well researched and I would love to know if the my...
I loved this book. I think it may be my favorite in the series. The story was great. I liked that it dealt with those returning from war and the impact of it on their trying to adjust back to the life they left. It felt well researched and I would love to know if the mystery was based on truth.

The book covered many areas - love, mystery, humor (I laughed out loud!) and it also made me cry. I couldn't have asked for more.

I highly recommend this book.

posted by RaeOH on April 10, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A must for Fergusson/Van Alstyne fans

If you're as hooked on this series as I am, this is a must-read book. If you're new to this author and these central characters' ongoing relationship and homicide-related adventures, reading this one will probably inspire you to go back to the first in the series and f...
If you're as hooked on this series as I am, this is a must-read book. If you're new to this author and these central characters' ongoing relationship and homicide-related adventures, reading this one will probably inspire you to go back to the first in the series and find out more about who these people really are and how they got to where they are now. I am already waiting for the next one.

posted by 17453475 on April 8, 2013

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Serious mystery with great characters!

    The Rev. Clare Fergusson is back from her tour in Iraq - and before she can even get back to the rectory, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery, courtesy of a bar fight. She's brought some demons with her, and convinces herself that she can manage her pain by falling into her comfortable role of pastor and priest to others, and substances that can dull the pain. But her veterans therapy group won't let her off the hook, and her complicated romance with Russ Van Alstyne is her greatest comfort and her greatest worry - she's nothing like his first wife. Julia Spencer-Fleming gives us great characters: people with complicated lives and no easy solutions. Hadley Knox, the only female on the Miller's Kill police force, has to figure out what she wants for herself, and how to deal with the complexities of gender in a male world. Anne Vining-Ellis has to figure out how to deal with her son Will, who has returned a double amputee. All this in the midst of the apparent suicide of another returning veteran, Tally McNabb. The vets are determined to find out what's happened to her, because it's the way they can begin to understand what's happened to them. Spencer-Fleming deftly mixes romance, mystery, and current events into a book that you'll want to read twice (I did.)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Loved all these books!

    Loved all these books!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Good story, kept you guessing

    Good story, talks about things veterans may go through that people may not know about. Good reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2012

    This is the darkest (and possibly goriest) book yet in this seri

    This is the darkest (and possibly goriest) book yet in this series. Clare is in denial about what she must confront within herself before she can begin healing from her experiences in Iraq. Russ gets clearer about his commitment to her, but she shows some truly unattractive qualities in herself and does not make it easy to be loved. All of the war veterans are dealing with very troubling problems and one dies what seems a really undeserving death. The ending leaves some critical questions unanswered (perhaps to be resumed in Book 8?) and some characters that play important roles in Clare's life are left completely blank-- stick figures, acting off stage-- particularly her mother. It took several books before we even met Russ's wife Linda, so perhaps Clare's mother will come out of the shadows later. Also, the time frame in the book is constantly shifting, so it's very iimportant to pay attention to the dates at the top of each chapter. It took me way too long to start keeping track of the threads with multiple characters in multiple time zones. I didn't love this particular book but I love the series and will continue reading if/when another comes out.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    One Was a Soldier

    In the tiny Adirondack town of Millers Kill, in upstate New York, a group of seven recently returning veterans are attending therapy sessions, PTSD the common factor among them, affecting each differently. There is also a 25-year-old woman, ex-Army. Each is finding the transition back to civilian life a difficult one. They are a rather disparate group, variously described as “the doctor, the cop, the Marine and the priest” or, less kindly, “a cripple, a drunk, a washed-up cop . . . ,” any or all of whom might be at risk for suicide.

    Against all odds, Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne are, finally, going to get married, and fans of this wonderful series can breathe a sigh of relief. Clare, an Army Major and an Episcopal priest originally from southern Virginia, has just returned after serving eighteen months in a combat zone. Russ, the police chief from Millers Kills, in upstate New York, is now widowed [after 25 years of marriage], and they no longer have to hide their love. But believing that he has never gotten over his wife’s death and that he is starting to have second thoughts, she starts having second thoughts of her own. For his part, Russ thinks “What did she want out of marriage? Specifically, marriage to a guy fourteen years older, who thought God was a myth and whose job could get him killed.”

    The chapters of this newest book from Julia Spencer-Fleming, her seventh and her strongest yet [high praise indeed], alternate between these two major plot points, until they merge when one member of the therapy group is found dead and Russ is the lead investigator. Clare is convinced, all evidence to the contrary, that it was murder. In denial, perhaps, because that might threaten her own sense of safety, fighting, as she is, her own demons. Russ, too, is ex-Army, had served in Vietnam, and is mindful of the problems faced by returning vets.

    There are several plot twists, including wholly unexpected ones near the end, and the precision of the way they are woven into the tale completely satisfying. In addition, the book makes the reader aware that aside from the obvious politics involved, one tends to forget the toll on lives lost and ruined by wars now lasting over a decade. Recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    great series

    cant wait for the next addition

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    Good book. I enjoyed the series.

    To enjoy this book, you should really read the whole series. I thoroughly enjoyed them.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very good

    This is the first I've read of this author, and a well established series. The relationships between the characters is well established at this point, but I did not feel lost at all. I loved the way they interacted with each other and the book read like a country song(which I love so believe me that is a good thing.) Country songs can say anything, nothing is off limits and that is how this book is written. People die, people have sex, people cheat and cuss, people love and share. This is the story of life, life in this small town, but still life in general. Busy parents, kids and sports, love and loss, life!

    I would love to go back and read the rest of the series from the start and maybe this summer I'll have the time. I suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a mystery, even a small amount of romance mixed in. The chief of police and the minister(sounds like a bad joke) are partners in life and in this book they even tie the knot for real. Having not read the others in this series I can guess how they got together and how their relationship developed, by the comments made and the situations they find themselves in. They love each other, but they don't always agree(real life again.)

    Read this book and maybe the whole series. It was tough to put down and I look forward to the next one. This author is easy to read, she made me laugh, cry and really think about my relationships with the people I love and care about. It was a good story. I feel like I made a whole town of new friends between these pages.

    I won this at Librarything.

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  • Posted February 27, 2011

    Highly recommended

    I recommend reading this one after reading the other six novels, beginning with In the Bleak Midwinter. Interestingly, I had heard Julia Spencer-Fleming say, at a reading in 2008, when novel six came out (I Shall Not Want), that she planned only one more in the series, but this one hints at more Russ and Clare books to come. Despite its being different, the town characters are all there, in the police department, the church, and the new hotel and spa. The love story that has pulled readers through six other books engages us here, too. There is no dearth of conflict for any of the soldiers, including Clare. Be prepared to be taken in hand by a masterful, passionate storyteller and to learn, as well, what we all need to know as citizens about what our country is asking of its armed forces, many of them National Guard, in Iraq. Judy Hogan, Moncure, N.C.

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