Sunshine is compelling, suspensful, and above all original. Robin McKinley breaks from her tradition of reviving timeless heroines' tales to offer up one of her own. While some of Rae's acquaintances are left half-sketched, and the launch into Other-world is somewhat unexplained, this novel remains gripping. Sunshine's voice becomes as unmistakable as an old friends's, and it's beyond easy to stay vested in her adventure.
No one can really know what life is like for a military family unless they've been in one, but Siobhan Fallon's collection of stories can bring you to a level of understanding that runs a close second. The story of the women and children who struggle to survive without their husbands and fathers is one that desperately needed telling. Fallon did it justice. In her collection, she delivers glimpses of the lives of both soldiers and wives, of both the lucky and less fortunate, of men and women both in love and falling apart.
Behind the ominous fences of Fort Hood, Texas, lies a world unknown to most civilians -- a world where "home" changes location in as little as six months, where a vacation is unheard of, and where tomorrow is not always guaranteed. Here soldiers leave their families to try and maintain normalcy in generic apartment complexes while they go off to war. Here fast friendships form, rumors abound, and hundreds of women spend their days waiting for their phone to ring and bring them reassurance that, at least for today, their husband is safe and life can go on. It is not a life for the faint of heart.
Fallon's stories are memories netted like butterflies -- they are poignant, beautiful. Yet as soon as you've grasped one, it flits away on the breeze, leaving as abruptly as it appeared. Each story is as unique as every military family, and all are steeped in emotion. Some leave us with hope, others with despair. Some are terrifying and strange, and others echo typical domestic life. However, they all inspire a well-deserved compassion for the unsung heroes of war: those who our troops leave behind.
You Know When the Men Are Gone is a profound and brilliant debut from an author who knows her characters quite a bit better than most. I hope it is only the beginning of a stunning literary career.
Conor Grennan had no idea what he was getting himself into when he agreed to volunteer three months at the Little Princes children's home in Nepal. Tackled by a mob of tiny orphans upon his arrival, he could think of nothing but how wonderful it was going to be to escape. But in the weeks ahead, the children of Nepal worked their way into Conor's heart, sparking within him a passion and determination to help them find their way in the world. When Conor discovered the children were vicitms of child trafficking, his mission solidified into a clear goal: to bring the lost children home.