Jolene Zarkades has dedicated her life to two things: her family and her career as a helicopter pilot in the National Guard. Her 12-year marriage to Michael, however, is crumbling. A defense attorney, Michael has thrown himself into his work to cope with the death of his father and his feelings of distance from Jolene. After he misses their daughter's track meet, Michael and Jolene get into a fight that results in him declaring that he doesn't love her anymore. The next day, Jolene finds out that her unit is being deployed to Iraq; Michael is furious that she is leaving him to juggle single parenthood and his practice, and they part on bad terms. Her letters home to their daughters exclude the harsh truths of war, but while she's away, Michael starts to come to terms with how much he has taken for granted. Jolene's tour of duty is cut short when her helicopter goes down, killing a young man, severely injuring Jolene, and leaving her best friend Tami in a coma. When Jolene returns home, she must cope with her own anger, guilt, fear, and frustration. Michael begins to understand her situation as he defends a Marine whose PTSD made him kill his wife. Slowly, Jolene heals, beginning the process of coming to terms with her life. By reversing traditional expectations, Hannah (Night Road) calls attention to the modern female soldier and offers a compassionate, poignant look at the impact of war on family. 400,000 first printing. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Feb.)
“HOME FRONT heart-wrenching portrayal of one veteran's trials points out how much training goes into preparing for war - and how little is done to teach returning soldiers how to be parents again.” PEOPLE magazine
“Complex, captivating characters. A timely, dynamic plot. Gorgeous prose. Kristin Hannah's HOME FRONT is a deeply emotional must-read you won't soon forget.” USA Today
“This new offering after a string of best-sellers is sure to garner a lot of attention, not only because of Hannah's track record with readers but also because of its heartrending and timely subject matter.” Booklist
“Readers of HOME FRONT may not know what it's like to have a loved one in the military, but they can likely relate to the idea of a relationship in trouble and the challenges of juggling career with family.” Associated Press
“Hannah masterfully details the unraveling of a family.” Associated Press on Night Road
“Kristin Hannah is back in top form with…Night Road. The novel grips the reader from the first appearance of despondent 14-year-old Lexi Baill…[and] will hook Hannah fans from start to suspenseful finish.” Washington Post on Night Road
“Night Road is a do-not-miss for fans of Jodi Picoult and will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.” Justine Magazine on Night Road
“[A] rich, multilayered reading experience, and…an easy recommendation for book clubs.” Library Journal, *starred review on Night Road
“Hannah's latest is a moving and realistic portrait of a complex and enduring friendship.” Booklist on Firefly Lane
“[Hannah] really knows what women-her characters and her audience-want.” Publishers Weekly on True Colors
“This terrific buddy saga about two best girlfriends who survive all sorts of escapades and catastrophes will inevitably provoke comparisons with Iris Dart’s ‘Beaches,’ but the story is all Hannah’s own.” The Seattle Times on Firefly Lane
“You cannot read Night Road and not be affected by the story and the characters. The total impact of the book will stay with you for days to come after it is finished.” Newark Star-Ledger
In the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, listeners will find themselves immersed in a fictional but very real story of the war's cost to National Guard families serving in this elongated conflict. Jolene Zarkades, a 41-year-old Black Hawk helicopter pilot and mother of two young girls, is sent to Iraq with Tammy, her next-door neighbor and best friend. The impact on the two soldiers, their loved ones, and their fellow crew members is captured in a whirlwind of emotions that never preaches but gives faces to the reality of the dangers in the war and afterward. VERDICT The novel's second half, a moving exploration of the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on an already shaky family dynamic, is especially well read by Maggi-Meg Reed, who inhabits all the voices and characters with skill and heartfelt emotion. A timely book that is highly recommended for all audiences. ["Hannah has written a remarkable tale of duty, love, strength, and hope.... Buy multiples for her many fans," read the similarly starred review of the St. Martin's hc, LJ 1/12.—Ed.] —Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo
Hannah's (Night Road; Winter Garden) latest is an emotional, honest, and timely read that depicts the life of a military family from a female perspective. Jolene is a mother who protects her two children, Betsy and Lulu, with ubiquitous positivity, but she can't preserve her marriage with Michael and their growing distance and fading love. Michael has never embraced Jolene's job as a helicopter pilot in the Army National Guard, and their relationship grows more strained when Jolene and her best friend are deployed to Iraq. Over the course of her tour, Jolene is understandably changed—she's broken both physically and mentally when she returns home. And Michael, too, has changed. Can they try to love again with this new life before them? VERDICT Hannah has written a remarkable tale of duty, love, strength, and hope that is at times poignant and always thoroughly captivating and relevant. Buy multiples for her many fans. [See Prepub Alert, 8/1/11.]—Anne M. Miskewitch, Chicago P.L.
The traumatic homecoming of a wounded warrior. The daughter of alcoholics who left her orphaned at 17, Jolene "Jo" Zarkades found her first stable family in the military: She's served over two decades, first in the army, later with the National Guard. A helicopter pilot stationed near Seattle, Jo copes as competently at home, raising two daughters, Betsy and Lulu, while trying to dismiss her husband Michael's increasing emotional distance. Jo's mettle is sorely tested when Michael informs her flatly that he no longer loves her. Four-year-old Lulu clamors for attention while preteen Betsy, mean-girl-in-training, dismisses as dweeby her former best friend, Seth, son of Jo's confidante and fellow pilot, Tami. Amid these challenges comes the ultimate one: Jo and Tami are deployed to Iraq. Michael, with the help of his mother, has to take over the household duties, and he rapidly learns that parenting is much harder than his wife made it look. As Michael prepares to defend a PTSD-afflicted veteran charged with Murder I for killing his wife during a dissociative blackout, he begins to understand what Jolene is facing and to revisit his true feelings for her. When her helicopter is shot down under insurgent fire, Jo rescues Tami from the wreck, but a young crewman is killed. Tami remains in a coma and Jo, whose leg has been amputated, returns home to a difficult rehabilitation on several fronts. Her nightmares in which she relives the crash and other horrors she witnessed, and her pain, have turned Jo into a person her daughters now fear (which in the case of bratty Betsy may not be such a bad thing). Jo can't forgive Michael for his rash words. Worse, she is beginning to remind Michael more and more of his homicide client. Characterization can be cursory: Michael's earlier callousness, left largely unexplained, undercuts the pathos of his later change of heart. Less bleak than the subject matter might warrant—Hannah's default outlook is sunny—but still, a wrenching depiction of war's aftermath.