Will the aftermath of the Great War spoil Joanna’s chance at love?
Joanna Trapp found adventure serving in France as a “Hello Girl” for 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 dull.
Thomas Ballard still regrets he was medically ineligible to serve in the war and feels 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?
Myra Johnson’s powerful saga continues to focus on the prominent Ballard family of Hot Springs, Arkansas, after World War 1 comes to an end. In previous novels, we learned that Gilbert fought in Europe and was badly injured, while Thomas received a medical exemption and became the manager of a prestigious hotel. Mother Ballard is a widow and dotes on her two sons, who long to break free of her snobbish attitude and acerbic tongue. Gilbert succeeded in Whisper Goodbye, and now Thomas wants the same. Is she capable of changing her ways before she drives away her only remaining family?
Every Tear a Memory looks at how lives and attitudes began to change after the war. Joanna has become so independent that she doesn’t wait for Thomas to open her car door whenever they go out. She zips around town on an Indian motorcycle and prefers to work outside the home rather than do any form of housekeeping. The subject of mental illness is slowly coming into the open. But some things don’t change. A person’s reputation is still important, and a person’s wealth can still influence.
I was disappointed, however, in the book’s ending. It finishes abruptly and made me wonder if I was missing text in my electronic copy. If this third title is the end of the Till We Meet Again series then I think it lacks the satisfactory conclusion common to most series. I don’t feel that all the storylines were wrapped up and, while there were hints of some upcoming events, the reader is left hanging. I wanted to see one character have her baby, if another two would get married, and wondered about the outcome of someone else’s surgery. Joanna’s younger sister, Lily, is an insecure teenager. There would surely be repercussions involving Lily when Joanna made certain decisions at the end of the novel, but the reader doesn’t get to see them.
Writers want to create characters we care about, and here Myra Johnson has succeeded. Gilbert wasn’t an agreeable character in When the Clouds Roll By, but he has matured into someone likable. I empathized with Lily, understanding why she exhibited certain behaviors. My favorite character by far, however, is Marguerite, the Ballards’ housekeeper. In her position she sees and hears everything, which gives her a unique insight into the character of each family member. Nothing escapes her attention and the sons know there’s no use in trying to hide anything from her. She is cheery, optimistic and understanding. Above all, she is patient. Well, she must be to have worked for Mother Ballard all these years!
Thank you to Abingdon Press for my complimentary electronic copy of Every Tear a Memory, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.
Do you plan to read Every Tear a Memory? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 21 October 2014
Page Count: 320