Friday, March 23, 2018

Book Review: Night Music

By Sara Steven

Charlotte Parsons is devastated over losing her brother in the Vietnam War. Desperate to learn more about the war, she joins a group of college women who send letters to soldiers and befriends Joseph Russo, a young soldier. But a few months after they begin corresponding, his letters stop coming, and Char moves on, still confused as to why so many young lives are being lost so far away from home.

Two years later, Char begins college in her small Illinois town of Grand Falls. She’s been dating her brother’s long-time best friend, Deke Masterson, who is a senior in college and is deep into the anti-war movement. Char isn’t sure how she feels about the war. Then a stranger comes to town and changes everything. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

It was so easy to appreciate the small-town nostalgia of Night Music. The quiet backdrop of neighbors who know one another, a downtown filled with local businesses who rely and support one another, and characters who are focused on connecting within their own relationships. But as sweet and good as the good old days might have been, there were conflicts. It was a scary time for many who had loved ones overseas, enlisted in the Vietnam War. Charlotte loses her own brother to the war, and makes the decision to reach out to soldiers in an effort to learn more about the world her brother had lived in. Joseph is someone she can talk to, someone she can share her ideas and thoughts with, but he’s so far away from the life she knows. Until she finds him living within her small Illinois town.

I liked the sweet premise behind the story of Charlotte and Joseph, the way they reconnect in person, how close they are through the letters they’ve written to each other. The fact that her letters compelled him to move to the town she’s described in her letters, so he can experience the peace she spoke of. All he wants to do is move on with his life and heal from his experiences in the war.

There were a lot of conflictual moments, which I imagined to be quite real for those who lived in the late 60’s. The country was divided on the Vietnam War, contention well represented by Deke. While Joseph showcases the men who fought bravely for their country, Deke showcases the many questions that surfaced during that time. Was it a necessary war? Was it worth it? Charlotte has a hard time making her own mind up on all of it, not sure on who’s right, and ultimately, who’s right for her. I really felt as though it was refreshing to read a story based on the late 1960’s, before the internet and social media and cell phones. A simpler time, that, after delving deeper in, really wasn’t so simple.

Thanks to Deanna Lynn Sletten for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Deanna Lynn Sletten:

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful review of Night Music. I am happy you enjoyed Charlotte and Joe's story. I enjoyed writing this novel and am happy to be able to share it with your readers.