LAST ONE HOME: A NOVEL by Shari J. Ryan
Release Date: March 22, 2021
Cover Design: MadHat Studios
Genre: Historical Fiction
Trope: World War II, Pearl Harbor
From the author of Last Words, USA Today Bestselling Author Shari J. Ryan brings readers a new, unforgettable novel. Last One Home was inspired by true events of the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II.
AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR
THIS IS NOT A DRILL
Piercing sirens led to cries for help. The pungent scents of burning oil would be seared into our memories forever, and the meaning behind loss was incomprehensible on that infamous day in history.
Twenty-year-old Elizabeth Salzberg, a nursing student and strong-willed Jewish woman, lived under the strict guidance of her father, a naval commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Oahu, Hawaii. For the five years following her mother’s untimely death, Elizabeth had struggled to abide by society’s expectations of a woman’s duties. While spending her days preparing meals and keeping a clean house for her father and brothers, Elizabeth desired a more profound sense of worth and purpose in life.
Elizabeth’s dream of escaping the rigorous daily grind was drifting out to sea just before her unexpected encounter with the new handsome lieutenant on base. Everett Anderson, a former Hollywood actor who put his career on hold to serve in the Army is the talk of the town as women gossip over his arrival. Despite the attention, Everett fell for Elizabeth at first sight, but unbeknownst to him, she was the commander’s daughter and off-limits to all servicemen on base.
On the morning of December 7th, 1941, a forbidden romance was the least of Elizabeth and Everett’s worries when they found themselves fearing for their lives as they dropped to the ground beneath the air attack that would wipe out the U.S. Fleet within hours.
Elizabeth saw this pivotal moment as a turning point in her life. An opportunity to join the Army Nurse Corps was the purpose she had been seeking. She knew the country needed her services. This path was in resistance to her father’s wishes and would likely disrupt any future plans between her and Everett, but despite the internal battle to make a life-altering decision, Elizabeth felt an overwhelming need to prove her strength as a coming of age woman at a time when equality was more important than ever.
Could Elizabeth and Everett survive the bloodshed and tears of war, or would one have to come home without the other?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shari J. Ryan is USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Massachusetts with her wicked awesome husband, and two wild sons who fill her life with non-stop comedy.
With a life full of love, writing, drawing, TV binging, reading, and Starbucks, Shari is living her best life.
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars - Would Recommend to a Friend
Review Copy provided by Author
This is a review that is a bit hard to write because by the time I was done with The Last One Home, I loved it and it is a book I would recommend, but it was a book that took a while for me to become invested in.
The Last One Home focuses on Elizabeth (Lizzie). We meet her in 1941 as she is a nursing student in Hawaii. I struggled with her as a character for the first 1/3 of the book. I don’t know if it was the character or the fact that I knew what was looming for Lizzie, but her attitudes/actions made it hard to relate to her. Some of the interactions between Lizzie and other characters seemed stiff and not as fluid as I expect from Ms Ryan.
As we spend time with Lizzie, we see her fall in love, live through the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the aftermath that is World War II. I won’t go into too much more detail because I think each reader needs to experience Lizzie’s tale for themselves. My respect for Lizzie grew as I saw her live through the years following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She displayed courage, strength, and empathy that showed a huge amount of emotional growth from earlier in the book.
The pacing/character interaction issues that seemed to be an issue for me early on in the book also seemed to correct themselves as the story moved into the WWII portion of the book. The secondary cast contributed greatly and I would have loved to have seen some of the story from Emmett’s (Lizzie’s love interest) point of view. There is also a bit of a twist in the story telling that tugs at the heartstrings, but what that is, you get to discover for yourself.
Overall, Last One Home is a book I recommend. Ms Ryan delivers characters that have an unique perspective on the challenges they are facing. While there were times I struggled with connection, I walked away appreciating the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces that much more.
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