People read books for many reasons — to learn, to be entertained, to find comfort, to find one’s self, to escape. It is rare that one comes across a book that satisfies so many aspects of reading, but when that book is found, it is to be treasured, to be cherished. Such is the case with master storyteller Diane Munier’s epic work, My Wounded Solder: Part One: Fight for Glory.
The first in a two part series, My Wounded Soldier: Part One: Fight for Glory is set in the American Midwest, just after the end of the Civi War. A bloodied nation begins to mend, its citizens — soldiers and civilians alike — weary, wounded, if not by bullets then by sorrow. It is against this backdrop that we meet Tom Tanner – an ex-soldier, back to working his family’s farm, wounded in spirit, haunted by his actions on the battlefield, a hero to all but himself. One morning, he hears the panicked call for help by a young boy at a neighboring farm. And upon answering that call, Tom finds another bloodied battlefield, the only survivors the young boy and his now-widowed mother, Addie Varn. And it is here that Tom begins his journey of love, self-discovery, confession and redemption.
Written in a prose that is at times breathtaking, Diane Munier takes us into the heart and mind of Tom, struggling with his inner demons as he heads out to reclaim his life, spurred on by his steadfast love for Addie. In a time when adventure could be found around the next bend, and all a man required was a good horse and a steady aim, Munier keeps the action at an even, but rapid pace, reminiscent of a Larry McMurtry novel. Tanner’s voice is authentic, clear, purposeful — never wavering as he awakens from the numbness of his soul:
“I realized something, and it was a hard thing, but true all the same. It’s going against my own code made me sick. More than anything I went through in the war, or even today. It’s going against my own code made me sickest of all. I was here to lead and protect, I’d always known it. And when I could not…well I wasn’t God, was I? I had to let myself by. I had to let myself live.”
My Wounded Soldier: Part One: Fight for Glory, page 195 (ARC)
Her settings, ancillary characters, are all believable. And through the words and actions of all of these characters, Munier, once again, reveals to her readers the paths to redemption, the necessity of surrender and the power of love.
The only issue this reader found with this book was its seemingly abrupt ending. It’s not a cliffhanger — there is resolution and one could say that it stands on its own — after all, Tom Tanner is not the sort of character who would shake a handful of clay to the heavens, vowing never to be hungry again. You decide.
*I was gifted this ARC by the author for an honest review.*