August 18, 2016

Phillip's War by Rachel Muller | My Review

When asked if I could I'm not sure what I was expecting when I was approached to be an influencer by this talented independent author (and new friend!) but suffice it to say this third and final book in her Love & War series has blown me away. And I cannot wait to read the first two books in her standalone series, Letters from Grace and Maggie's Mission. What is one of many fantastic facets about this powerful story, is that you don't have to have read the first two books to know what is going on. You will want to though because the secondary characters within it have their own stories and you'll be dying to find out their backstories in short order. But onto today's review...

Reminiscent of Academy Award-winning classic film, The Best Years of Our Lives, this novel that just released yesterday has it all. Romance, loss, intrigue, mystery, and a varied tapestry of impressive characters. The title character, Phillip, is unlike any I have ever read before. Dealing with shell-shock (now known as PTSD), he is both the protagonist and in many ways to his wife Libby he is the antagonist in this, his own story. A feat not often balanced well but Rachel Muller spins their story with a finesse and grace unparalleled in the genre, especially for the subject matter. Never have I ever read a book that so deeply delves into the horrors of what a war leaves behind on its soldiers--and what it brings home to the families.
PictureAmidst the small town charm of Arbor Springs, Maryland, the Big Band music that this vintage-soul was thrilled to hear mention of--Rachel has woven a powerfully redemptive story. One with such an emotional depth you can't help but be pulled in alongside Phillip and Libby Johnson, feeling what they do so vividly--all as God brings them back together, and into restoration.

This story left me changed. Which is a rare feat. Getting to see God's masterful handiwork in what Rachel poured into this novel, straight from her heart, was nothing short of a blessing. She was unafraid to both tackle topics like PTSD, alcoholism and making a marriage work--and she tackled them so accurately and sensitively these topics were mere tools to point to the Ultimate Author who makes beautiful things out of the dust of history, and hearts.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
They thought the war had ended…
but the real battle was just beginning.
When Marine Sergeant Phillip Johnson returns from the Pacific in the winter of 1946, no one could be happier than the gal that’s stuck with him through the duration—his Libby. Finally, it seems 1946 brings new promise to the citizens of Arbor Springs as the town learns to live life post war. But after the homecoming festivities have calmed, Libby senses something is wrong. The gentle and caring man she once knew is now an angry and bitter stranger.
Phillip can’t escape the haunting nightmares born on the bloody islands of battle. Blinded by grisly images, past promises, and buried secrets, new hostilities rise in his tortured mind. 
His irrational behavior soon dismantles his marriage. When Phillip’s despair turns volatile, Libby needs an escape. 
Will Libby and Phillip find the healing needed to restore their marriage? Or will their love sink in the midst of Phillip’s inward war?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Obsessed with World War II since the tender age of 17, Rachel has been studying The Greatest Generation for 13 years and composing stories of love and war for three years. Her first project, Letters from Grace, claimed a spot in Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write Contest in 2012 and semi-finaled in ACFW's Genesis Contest, 2014. Letters from Grace, book 1 in the Love & War series, released September, 2014 and its sequel Maggie's Mission released in December of the same year. Readers can learn more about Rachel at www.racheldmuller.com or find her on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Goodreads.