Crippled both physically and emotionally by his war injuries, First Lt. Gilbert Ballard struggles to find himself again in civilian life. After breaking his engagement to Annemarie Kendall, he has found solace in the arms of Mary McClarney, a spunky Irish immigrant nurse he met at the Army and Navy Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Yet Mary’s love for Gilbert goes unreturned.
If it’s not Gilbert’s insane jealousy over his former fiancée’s new marriage, it’s his addiction to pain killers and gambling that thwarts Gil’s own happiness. Worse, Gilbert’s mother, Evelyn, continually reminds him of what he lost when he pushed Annemarie away. Under Evelyn’s critical eye, Mary fights to believe in her worth, wondering if she will ever be enough.
As Mary longs for the day when Gilbert will finally let go of the past and learn to love her as she loves him, she realizes that the only way to open Gilbert’s heart is to whisper her goodbyes . . . and pray God will bring them back together.
Gilbert Ballard wasn’t exactly a likeable character when readers first met him in When the Clouds Roll By. I felt sorry for Mary for getting involved with him. Having now read Whisper Goodbye, I still do but I guess you can’t help who you fall in love with. For the majority of the novel Gilbert takes Mary for granted. He expects her to leave her work the moment he needs her and doesn’t understand why she can’t. But perhaps God is working in Gilbert… Besides, he isn’t the only person in Mary’s life. A promotion puts her in charge of more patients and her mother’s health is a concern.
Whisper Goodbye is the second in Myra Johnson’s Till We Meet Again series and continues to look at how life in the USA was impacted by the war in Europe. Mary’s patients have all returned home from the fighting, and not all their injuries are visible. Men who didn’t fight, perhaps for having a medical condition that prevented them from serving, feel guilty for having stayed at home. Meanwhile, a German widow feels ostracized by the community even though her son fought with the Allies and was killed. The social divide still exists, as exhibited by Gilbert’s mother, and prohibition has begun.
This book captured my interest and was difficult to put down. Although I didn’t find the main characters that appealing, I did like others such as Mary’s mother, a senior doctor, and Gilbert’s brother. Speaking of the brother, it looks like he’ll feature heavily in the third book in the series, Every Tear a Memory, which will be out in October.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for my complimentary electronic Advance Reading Copy of Whisper Goodbye, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.
Have you read Whisper Goodbye? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 15 April 2014
Page Count: 320