Incense & Peppermints
File Size: 656 KB
Print Length: 456 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 149735563X
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
BOOK BLURB: On a snowy February day in 2011, 62-year-old Cindy Sweet receives a Facebook message from a dead man—Warrant Officer Ryan Quinlan who supposedly died in Vietnam forty years earlier. He’d been Cindy’s fiancé before an RPG took out his “dust-off” chopper, killing all aboard. Cindy, a young combat nurse at the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh, had been devastated by her loss, but with no other choice, had served out her year in Vietnam—and even found love again.
After Cindy reads that surprising Facebook message, the story goes back in time to 1970, when Cindy arrived in Vietnam, fresh out of nursing school and ill-prepared for what she was about to encounter in a combat hospital. When she meets Ryan Quinlan “Quinn”, it is the thought of spending the rest of her life with him that gives her hope that they can both survive the unspeakable horrors of war.
When Quinn does not return from one of his runs, that hope is shattered, and the rest of the story is about how Cindy learns to hope again. This is a character and a story that will stay with the reader for a long time. No matter what your thoughts were about the justification of this war, the atrocities that people suffered in the line of duty were devastating, and the medics and doctors and nurses who tended the wounded and the dying were some of the heroes. The story evokes that sense of honoring those people and touches every patriotic string in a readers heart.
There was a fine ensemble cast, and at times the story reminded me of the China Beach series that was popular on television from 1988 to 1991. Like China Beach, Incense & Peppermints does not shy away from the gritty reality of the war, and presents women who were strong and capable and so worthy of our respect and honor.
The letters from home from Cindy’s sister, Joanie, that were scattered throughout the story were a nice touch, and much of what Joanie shares in her letters firmly sets the stage in the 70s. This will bring back pleasant memories to those who grew up in that era, and those memories are a nice contrast to the images of that war that caused so much anguish and controversy.
Carole Bellacera is a novelist, journalist and screenwriter and her work has appeared in Woman’s World, The Star, Endless Vacation, and The Washington Post. Her romantic suspense novels have been published by Forge, Tor, and Belgrave House. She is going to be my Wednesday’s Guest this week, do do try to come back to meet her and find out who was the inspiration for the book.