Angela Harris, REEDSY
*WARNING: This book contains potential triggers for Veterans, Asians, and African Americans*
A luminous Vietnam War tale as seen through the symbolic eyes of war ghosts and the treasured memories of the living.
The Broken Hallelujah, written by Wendy Adair, is a clever, gripping, historical mystery and romance fiction about the Vietnam War revealed in a fresh and edifying way. A cast of characters forces you to view truth, justice, bravery, patience, humor, unity, (and even love) in a new light, while enthralling readers to rethink racial, gender, cultural, and patriotic divides for generations to come.
Many novels depict the complex world of the Vietnam War by echoing the stories many have read in textbooks. Although I will never challenge the necessity of scholastic writings, there is something compelling about a writer who can take the same scholarly data, yet add a pinch of "special ingredient" to the mix most lack (i.e., human emotion) to make a novel built for the ages. This is the spirit of The Broken Hallelujah.
While reading The Broken Hallelujah, I reflected on my "tour of duty" as a former, civilian employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Adair's characters reminded me of the emotions and feelings often expressed by countless veterans, family members, and public and private entities, all fighting to bring truth to the past, faith in the present, and triumph in the future; expressions I never ignored. Prolific messages found within the pages of The Broken Hallelujahexhibit Adair's skillful assimilation of the Vietnamese Vietnam War stories interlaced with the myriad of American Vietnam War stories; each irrefutably similar in nature.
As Adair beautifully states "People are universal."
The book had a few (minor) flaws. First, I had to remind myself it was historical FICTION (and therefore, not fault her creative control regarding modifications made to important locations, dates, and/or military procedures). However, my fear is not abated that some readers may forget the same. Second, there were a few details stated one way at the beginning yet later, stated differently (causing confusion).
Personally, I never fully "rooted" for the main female character since (to me) she had several "less-than-desirable" traits. Not that it didn't work; I just rooted more for several minor characters. My favorite character was Martin because I could identify with his impenetrable sense of truth and justice; he was truly "born before his time." The intricate placement of clues and red herrings kept me guessing. I solved the mystery before my "co-detectives" (but they weren't far behind)! The mystery was thrilling, the descriptions impressive, and the dialogue "true-to-life" (ESPECIALLY from the "mature" characters; their "sassiness" was ADORABLE). I hope to see them return in future books!
In conclusion, The Broken Hallelujah is more than "another" Vietnam War novel; it is an impassioned tale of truth, justice, and our commonalities within this crazy maze called "life." If you want to read an astounding, original, exciting, and "f**king" great book (which I HIGHLY recommend), then go grab yourself a copy of The Broken Hallelujah. And YES... I owe $1 to the swear jar!