Date: December 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Author via NetGalley
A grief-stricken candy-striper serving in a VA hospital following her brother’s death in Viet Nam struggles to return home an anonymous veteran of the Great War against the skullduggery of a congressman who not only controls the hospital as part of his small-town fiefdom but knows the name of her veteran. A name if revealed would end his political ambitions and his fifty-year marriage. In its retelling of Odysseus’ journey, Revenants casts a flickering candle upon the charon toll exacted not only from the families of those who fail to return home but of those who do.
I read Revenatns:The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman during that time period celebrated as Armistice and Veteran's Day. Purely by accident, but a very fitting time to read it.
It is the story of Betsy being sent to do candy stripe 'volunteer' work at a local VA hospital, where she meets up with all kinds of injured. Betsy has just lost her beloved brother Nathan to the Vietnam war, and is grieving his loss. Through observation and curiosity she finds in the attic a soldier kept hidden, badly injured and from a previous war. The story follows Betsy's time at the VA hospital, her working along side her younger brother and Matt MacLain a young reporter to track down who the mystery man is.
And what a tangled web it is. There are quite a few twists and turns. There is one horrible Congressman who seems to be very crooked and self serving and who managed to evade service int he army. He is not above some horrible bullying.
Part of the story focuses on Betsy and whether she will ever find healing from the grief of the loss of her brother, it is her journey and ultimately one of finding herself and choosing to live. Something those killed in war do not have the opportunity for.
The book brings home the rawness and horror of war and the terrible consequences for those who return terribly wounded. The story links to The Odyssey, and for those who understand that then I am sure the book will have even more meaning for them.
While this story was not quite what I was expecting, and not the in the style I usually read, I did find myself engaged and wanting to read on.