One Was A Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming

I was lucky enough to be sent an advance copy of One Was A Soldier by one of my favorite authors, Julia Spencer-Fleming.  I have been reading this series since the first title came out in 2002, and I was very disappointed when this book delayed publication last year.

If you are not familiar with this series you should quit reading this review and get a copy of the first book – In the Bleak Midwinter.    Then read the rest of the books in the series in order and then come back.  :) The author takes the titles of her books  from the lyrics of hymns and this title is no exception, coming from I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.

Clare Fergusson,  St. Alban’s priest has just returned from  Iraq, where she served as a helicopter pilot.   She is back in  Millers Kill to take up her life where she left off eighteen months ago, including her relationship with Russ Van Alstyne, chief of police.   While on the surface everything is fine, Clare is unable to sleep without nightmares and unable to function in the same way she did before.  Trying to pretend everything is normal is exhausting and she’s only herself when she is trying to help someone else.  Clare is not the only returning vet and they form a support group with a clinical therapist.   Every Monday night, the priest, the doctor, the cop, the bookkeeper and the marine meet to reluctantly talk about their return home.   Everyone is adept at pretending everything is normal and it takes the death of one of the five, for them to begin to form a cohesive group.

The book doesn’t hit you over the head with the problems of returning veterans, there are no dark memories related.   You just become interested in the five vets, in their behavior and their difficulties and you know this is not a fictional problem.    There is of course a mystery, a theft and a murder to be solved along with happy and sad occasions.  All in all, a very enjoyable book and well worth the wait.
Karen – Fort Mill                                      ISBN: 9780312334895

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