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Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

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The Return of the Soldier

The Return of the Soldier - Rebecca West Please note that I gave this book 4.5 stars, but rounded it up to 5 stars on Goodreads.

I read this story for The Dead Writers Society, 2016 Genre Fiction August 2016 book.

This story is (expletive) up. Seriously. You have a husband and wife separated by World War I. The husband's cousin is living with the wife and seems to sit around with constantly wet eyes thinking about "their Chris". And then the wife (Kitty) finds out that her husband who she loves is wounded with amnesia/shell shock and does not recall her or their life together. Instead he remembers a younger love and goes around telling people he will just die if he can't see/be with her. This story is (expletive) up.

So I disliked the character of Jenny (cousin to Chris) a lot. She had ever changing loyalties about what needed to be done about Chris. And depending on the way that the clouds were moving in the sky shifted her loyalties to her cousin, his wife, or his cousin's old love. Can you tell I did not care for her? Cause I did not.

I felt the most for Kitty who though she seems hard hearted, you realize she has suffered losses as well. She wants her husband to come back to her so they can resume their lives together again. This latest issue has her barely holding it together, and she at times gets to she Jenny for the grasping piece of crap she is (yep, still hate Jenny).

Chris you don't get a sense of much at all besides his selfishness. I get that he had shell shock and amnesia. But after being told by the 20th person around that things had changed, all he wanted to do was sit around and be around his old love Margaret. Of course that wasn't going to be able to be his future forever. The fact that Margaret and Jenny even entertained the notion drove me up the wall.

The writing was very good, but told from Jenny's point of view I think at times you realize that her words are at odds with what is going on. The flow was great too because you just keep reading and reading and wondering what in the heck is the ending going to reveal.

I thought the setting of the house from a happy shining place to a place that became cold and indifferent was sad. I can see how the war would change Chris from the younger man who had the whole world in front of him, to one who experienced a terrible war and also other losses in his life.

The ending set things up as the most bitter ending to a book I can remember in a time. I think in that instance Jenny realized what would happen if her and Kitty got "their Chris" back. So one wonders, what would have been best for him and them?