Every Tear a Memory
About This Book
Joanna Trapp found adventure serving in France as a “Hello Girl,” one of over 200 telephone operators called upon by General Pershing to serve in the Army Signal Corps, but she still mourns her doughboy sweetheart killed in battle. Returning to Hot Springs, Arkansas, she takes a job as a switchboard operator at the Arlington Hotel and quickly discovers that after her experiences overseas, civilian life proves almost too tame.
Thomas Ballard still regrets he was medically ineligible to serve in the war and feels somehow inferior to those who did, especially his war-hero brother, Gilbert. When Thomas finds himself attracted to Joanna, he strives to match her adventurous spirit, when all he really wants is to settle down, raise a family, and earn respect as a successful businessman.
As romance blossoms, can two such different people learn to accept not only their own but each other’s God-created individuality . . . or will love change them both?
I have never read this author before, but she is definitely on my one-to-watch list now. Every Tear a Memory was a thoroughly enjoyable story, not least because it was unconventional—I can’t describe how refreshing it was to read a Christian historical romance that was not set in Texas or the 1800s! The early 20th Century time period and resort-town setting of Hot Springs were both well-written and full of great historical detail that really brought the story to life. I also enjoyed the romance between Joanna and Thomas, which was both sweet and swoon-worthy. Joanna was a very likable and relatable heroine, as a young woman who hides her very deep emotional wounds behind a tough exterior. Thomas could have been a little more developed, but then, this being the third book in a series, perhaps he was in previous stories.
That is one problem that plagued me as I read this story: the feeling that a lot of these characters’ histories and conflicts were part of the earlier books that I hadn’t read. While I think Johnson did attempt to make this a stand-alone story—and for the most part succeeded—every now and then a situation would be referenced, a character suddenly thrown onto the page, or a dubious past referenced that made me feel I was missing out on something. This was particularly true for the story’s “black moment”—the scene near the end in which all hope of happily-ever-after is supposed to be lost for the hero and heroine. In this case, Joanna and Thomas were suddenly driven apart by the reappearance of a man from their past—one who hadn’t even been mentioned, let alone appeared, in this book until that very moment. As a result, the ending felt a bit contrived and unsatisfactory.
The story also had a bit more of a family-saga feel than a true historical romance, with multiple point-of-view characters and plot lines in addition to just the hero and heroine. While not a problem in and of itself, it did get to be a little distracting at times. And it was some of these extraneous plots that felt unresolved in the end and added to the overall sense of a weak/incomplete ending.
On the whole, Every Tear a Memory is a well-written, expertly-detailed historical romance that brings a unique time and setting to vivid life. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and have already added the first two books in this series to my to-read list. I will definitely be watching for more stories from this author.
Available October 21, 2014 from Abingdon Press