A small Texas town medic's eye view of the largest confluence of military personnel & materiel in history.
Engaged In War, the second book in the French Letters series, is a hundred pages longer & filled with well-wrought dramatic episodes of relationships, hard-kept secrets & revenge, as if surviving combat & the war wasn't enough.
Will Hastings, an officer doctor, is about to step out of a landing craft into the maw of Omaha Beach. After a clash with his commanding officer back in England, not only is he ordered to make contact with the forward triage centers, he must take the place of any wounded medic until relieved. As Will follows the tsunami of war inland, he stumbles through the French countryside in search of his brother & finds, instead, a bullet bearing his name, & true love.
A more absorbing read than Virginia's War, perhaps because of the vaster landscape, Jack Woodville London's story plotting & evocative reconstruction of the life & times of the various people gets better with each book.
With this trilogy, the author set out to honor his father, a member of the often-silent Greatest Generation & their experiences in the ETO. He has a sure touch when it comes to revitalizing the small stories & furtive gestures of a long gone society. Perhaps it was because so many returned to the Home Front only to find it on fire with change & torn apart by gossip, that it fell short of the idealized clichés that had kept our hapless heroes going through thick & thin so they could get home, pack away their uniforms & their dreadful memories & simply get on with their hard-won lives.
Reviewed by: Dave Brown (2011)
French Letters: Engaged in War is the second book in the French Letters Trilogy. The companion to French Letters: Virginia's War, it is the story of Will Hastings, an army doctor caught up in the D-Day landings in Normandy and the drive to capture St. Lo, France. Isolated from Virginia Sullivan and the events taking place at home, Will faces the demands of combat surgery under fire and the losses of his brother, his friends, and his connection to home. Historically accurate and precise and covering events from exactly the same time frame as the events in the first volume, Engaged in War is a novel of the will to survive when war, distance, loss, and the uncertainty of the future separate a couple far beyond the breaking point.