The Ghosts of Arlington by D.G. Gass
NOT ALL GHOSTS REMAIN ON THE BATTLEFIELDAs an Army wife, Candace Benning understood and was prepared for what might happen. She was prepared when her husband was sent to the Middle East twice. She was prepared when they told her of his injuries and the months of therapy that would be needed. She was prepared for the psychological battles he might face. She was prepared for everything - or so she thought.After witnessing her husband's suicide, Candace tries to move on, despite the emotions and the memories that haunt her. But memories aren't the only things haunting her. Recurring dreams and unexplained events have her worried for her sanity. Was she experiencing the effects of posttraumatic stress or was there really something beyond the grave reaching out?And what about Everett Bayard, the reporter in search of a story in the wake of the Walter Reed scandal?. Was his appearance just a coincidence or was there something else behind it? Whatever it was, Everett would be the key that draws Candace back into a fight she had hoped she'd left behind.A fight to save the Ghosts of Arlington.
Published October 27th 2011
Three and a half stars: A book that is a stark reminder of the sacrifices of our service men and their families.
Candace paces the floor anxiously waiting for her brother in law to return her husband, from their boys night out. They promised not to drink too much, but Candace knows better. She hates the drinking, mainly because the mix of alcohol and anti depressants tends to have severe repercussions for her husband. Aaron, an Army veteran, has recently returned from one of many tours of duty overseas. This time though, he returned minus a limb. His leg was blown off by an I.E.D. He lost more than his limb. Aaron is suffering from severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Candace along with rearing their two young twin sons, is doing everything she can to nudge him gently back into his life. All that goes out the window, when she awakens to glass shattering, the next morning. She finds Aaron standing in front of the smashed mirror, shards of glass sticking out of his knuckles. He is shaking and holding his gun, the one she took away to protect him, to his temple. Candace begs him to put the gun down....In an instant he is gone. Candace is left to pick up the pieces. As she slowly tries to climb the towering mountain of regret and sorrow, she meets a journalist, Everett. With some prodding he convinces her to share her story. What follows is a heartbreaking and necessary look at the lives and struggles of our military men and women and their families. It seems though, that Candace's meeting with Everett is not left up to fate alone. Can a loved one from beyond help to set things right?
What I Liked:
- I liked the protagonist, Candace. She is a character, who is representative of the many brave women and men out there, facing the burdens and sacrifices, that are the reality of having a spouse serving in the military. Faced with grief and hard choices, Candace tackles her problems head on, without despairing and feeling sorry for herself, even though she has every right to. I truly admired Candace, she is a courageous woman.
- This book shares some important insight into the difficulties facing our service men and women. It shows how the greed of money and politics sent our troops into battle with sub par equipment. After serving many return home to find their jobs are no longer waiting. For our veterans who were disabled or injured, they are treated in hospitals with mold growing in the walls, if they are lucky to get the care they require. Many veterans suffering with debilitating psychiatric disorders, such as PSTD, are ignored because the government fails to acknowledge the need for properly treating these victims. Many are homeless, forgotten by the same country they protected. This book is an eye opening experience on the deplorable treatment of our servicemen. I applaud the author in the way she relays this information. She doesn't preach or sensationalize it, instead she shows us Candace's story. Her message, while woven subtly into the story, comes across loud and clear.
- The biggest impact of this book is the way it gently reminds us the importance of supporting our military personnel. I admit I am guilty, I thank the servicemen when it is called to my attention, but I don't go above and beyond. This book conveyed to me the importance of doing more to support these brave people, who sacrifice so much for the American people. Supporting our troops, according to Ms. Gass, is more than saluting, flying flags and placing tattered magnets on our cars. Get out there volunteer, do something to help make a difference for these families.
- I enjoyed the supernatural element in the book. It is rather inconspicuous. Not over the top, most of the ghostly encounters are in dreams, which is a believable way to incorporate a bit of the paranormal into what could be a real life story.
And The Not So Much:
- I can't criticize this book too much because the author is trying to convey such an important message. I only have three tiny criticisms. Everett, the political reporter, is a sympathetic character once his past is revealed. I liked him, but I was a little disappointed in the way he immediately starting trying to prod Candace into a relationship, so soon after her husband's death. Given his history, I expected him to be a little more understanding in giving Candace the space she needed to grieve. I did not like the hurried movement toward a romantic relationship, especially with the scene at the hotel at the end.
- The writing lacks frills, it is straight forward and simplistic, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Ms. Gass gets the job done, by getting her important points across, but the plot lacked a bit of depth.
- I was left wondering about the encounter Candace had with Everett's brother at Arlington, was there more to his story?
The Ghosts of Arlington, is a heartbreaking story of a military wife, shouldering a heavy load of grief. Candace, gives us a glimpse at the many difficult challenges facing those who sacrifice freely to protect the masses. Pick up a copy of this book to gain an understanding of the obstacles they face during and after their time of service. I hope that I can do more on my part to help better the situation, as can we all. This ebook can be purchased on Amazon and other ebook retailers for $2.99.
"The public would be content knowing they've done their part for showing support for our troops by tacking a magnetic yellow ribbon to their bumper and flying their tattered flags from the antennae of their cars."
"Do you believe that a random act of kindness needs to be earned?"
"..she stared out the kitchen window, pondering on the fingernail moon that hung in the sky."
"Her lips became his addiction as she matched the intensity."
"I watch over those who wander."
Come back tomorrow for a special guest post from the author, D.G. Gass.