Blog Tour: Battle Hymns by Cara Langston: A Book Review

Battle Hymns
Author: Cara Langston
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
eBook; ISBN: 9781311184443

Source: This book was given to me from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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 Synopsis: A second war. A second chance.

     In December 1941, Charlotte Donahue is engaged to Nick Adler, a handsome, pre-law student at Georgetown University. Despite her studies at a liberal arts college, she expects nothing more than to marry her fiancĂ© and settle into a conventional life as a young American homemaker. But her future is unexpectedly disrupted after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While Nick trains for the battlefront with the U.S. Army, Charlotte does her part by volunteering as a nurses’ aide with the American Red Cross.

     Assigned to a convalescent ward at Walter Reed’s Army Medical Center, Charlotte discovers her passion lies, not in the home, but in tending to the wounds of injured soldiers, all of whom remind her of Nick. Here she is drawn to a mysterious soldier, Lieutenant William Kendrick, whose jet was shot down in the skies over Germany. As Will’s physical and psychological wounds begin to heal, he and Charlotte develop a friendship that will bind them together in ways they never imagined.

     Battle Hymns is a poignant story of love, survival, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

     My Review: Charlotte is a young college student who just recently got engaged to her boyfriend Nick. After the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war. The declaration of war changes Charlotte's happiness and hopes for the future because  Nick decides to join the war. While she is waiting for Nick's return, Charlotte volunteers to become a nurse. There she meets a wounded soldier with a mysterious past. The two of them form an unlikely friendship because both of their lives have been affected by the war.

     I found Charlotte's character to be one-dimensional. Her story is told in passive tense. There really wasn't much change in her. I thought of Charlotte as a boring protagonist, and I didn't understand why men would be attracted to her. She is very emotional for she lets her emotions get in the way of her thinking, and she cries a lot. Other than that, I couldn't really understand her character than what the author told me. Her romance with Nick felt a little forced, and really I did not care for him. There wasn't much to his character except he was Charlotte's love, and he went to war. I found the most intriguing character was Will. He was emotionally-damaged in the war, and I liked the interactions between him and Charlotte.

     The author did a great job in portraying life during the Second World War. The setting was very vivid. It was clear that she did extensive research of the WWII strategies. The author spent more time mostly on the setting and historical detail than she did in character development. She made the era come alive and the makes it easier for the reader to capture the heart of a WWII soldier.

     Overall, this book is about loss, sacrifice, renewed love, friendship, hope and redemption. It is about even though your plans didn't happen as you wanted to, there is a second path that is just as good. Charlotte found that her life didn't happen as she hoped and dreamed of, but she found something else that was just as rewarding. The story is very short and fast-paced, and the setting is very vivid. I just wished she focused more on character development. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in WWII, historical fiction, and to anyone interested in finding hope and love again after the loss of a loved one.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

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About the Author

Cara is a novelist of historical fiction. She has two novels in the works. Battle Hymns is a historical romance set in Washington, D.C. from 1941 to 1943. It will be published on June 3, 2014. The Glassmaker’s Wife is a historical romance set in 1925 Chicago and is still very much in progress.

Cara has been an avid reader – especially of historical fiction, classics, and mystery novels – since she was young. She read all of the American Girl books when she was in 5th grade, even though her parents could not afford to buy her a doll. In middle school, she was obsessed with the only two Ann Rinaldi books in the school library. They taught her about the 1770 Boston Massacre and the Salem Witch Trials before her history classes ever did. And that was when Cara’s love of historical fiction was born. She didn’t begin writing, though, until her senior year at the University of Georgia, where she studied Finance and had already committed to a career in the corporate world. One day she will be able to quit working for The Man and focus on her writing. Until then, it pays the bills.
When she’s not writing or working, Cara enjoys drinking red wine, watching bad television, doing genealogical research, obsessing over the Duchess of Cambridge’s every outfit, and finding the best guacamole in Texas. Cara currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and their dog.

For more information please visit Cara Langston’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest.


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