Monday, September 24, 2012

"The Reunion" Review

Aaron Miller is the kind of person that people tend not to notice. A handyman at a trailer park in Florida, Aaron lives a quiet life serving the people around him – people who would never suspect that he is actually a hero.

Forty years ago Aaron Miller saved the lives of three men who belonged to his battalion in Vietnam. But when he came home from those battles, he faced battles of his own. Addicted, homeless, and without his family, Aaron struggled to break free from the hold that the war had on him. Even though he found God and cleaned up his act, Aaron is still alone.

But not for long.

The diligent search of a determined journalist, Dave Russo, will put all of the pieces together to form a reunion beyond what Aaron ever expected – the homecoming fit for a hero.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of sappy stories. Now, you may wonder how I can read almost exclusively historical fiction romances and then say that I don’t like sappy stories. Well, I personally think that just because a book is a romance doesn’t mean that it is sappy, and I think most historical fiction doesn’t come off as sappy.

You know what I’m talking about – the stories where the authors put just the right situations and sentimental words in them for the sole purpose of making you cry. (I won't name names here, but if you really want to know who I think some of these authors are, just ask me sometime!) They are so contrived that you can see them coming a mile away. I know that a lot of people enjoy these books, and I have no problem with that. But I usually just end up rolling my eyes.

Which brings me to this novel, The Reunion. It has so many things that should make it just another sappy story – a whirlwind romance, a forgotten war hero – it even takes place at Christmas!

But I really liked it.

Somehow the things in this novel didn’t come off as too sappy, and I can’t explain why they didn’t. All I know is that Dan Walsh can spin a great tale.

What struck me most about this book was that the people in it seemed so real. They acted how real people would act. (I loved the ‘blind date’ for Karen toward the beginning of the book – hilarious). The conversations even flowed in a normal manner, and it never felt as if any of the words that were spoken were contrived. The romance in the novel wasn’t unrealistic, either, even though it was a love-at-first-sight scenario.

I also was inspired by the humbleness of Aaron. It would sometimes irk me when Aaron would seem to brush off what he did in Vietnam as unimportant, but then I realized that this is what makes a great hero. A hero isn’t someone who seeks out fame and fortune and glory. It is someone who does what is required of him and is even willing to give his life for his friends. And Aaron’s relationship with God is so clear. He is quick to point out to others that his turnaround was through Christ alone.

I will say that the scene that takes place in Vietnam was hard for me to read, mainly because battle scenes can be disturbing, but I realize that it was necessary for the buildup of that part of the story. You can tell from this novel that the author has a great deal of respect for the U.S. Armed forces, and I appreciated how everything surrounding the war and the veterans was portrayed.

I wasn’t sure at first how all of these somewhat random storylines I was reading were going to fit together. But they did. And beautifully. Karen, Dave, John, Billy, Heather – all of these characters’ stories are woven together expertly to bring about a reunion for Aaron Miller and to give him the homecoming that he always deserved.

I will give The Reunion ... 4 BookWorms. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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