The Heroes' Welcome

Harper Perennial. Mar. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780062354495. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062354501. F
How does one go on with life after extreme psychological trauma? In Young's second novel, the characters from her World War I book My Dear I Wanted To Tell You attempt to answer precisely that question. A newly married Riley Purefoy adjusts to the lasting effects of his devastating wartime facial injury, while a haunted Peter Locke, Riley's former commanding officer, isolates himself from his wife and child while immersing himself in Homeric imagery of lost and grieving soldiers. Both men's wives struggle to keep their husbands focused on the future despite the constant pull of the past.
VERDICT This title is notable among recent releases set in this popular postwar era for focusing equally on the experiences of both male and female characters, though the primary focus here is definitely on the men's romantic relationships with their wives. Young has written an emotionally moving (if slow-paced) narrative around sympathetic figures that reaches a poignant climax. However, the plot centers so entirely around the fallout from the first novel's events that it will appeal most to readers familiar with that title.
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