Shadows in the Mind’s Eye
by Janyre Tromp
This story is one of those that sticks with you for a while. It’s not for the faint of heart either, as it delves into PTSD, a soldier’s homecoming that is nothing like anyone wanted, and a corrupt town that infiltrates all aspects of life. There were times when Sam (the hero) wondered if he was losing his mind, overreacting, or really seeing something he needed to act upon, and boy do I identify with that one when it comes to caregiving. I also understood Annie’s struggle of not getting “the same husband” back that she sent off to war. They both had struggles that pushed them apart and together. Their commitment to each other and their struggles other were realistic. The voice of this story was masterfully created. You really felt like you were in the south with all the word choices and beautiful imagery.
I listened to the audiobook and just want to say that I really appreciated the change of female and male narrators depending on whose POV you were listening to. One thing that disappointed me in the audio is that part of the surprise ending was spoiled sooner than desired. To the careful listener, the narrator used the voice of the character who was supposed to be a mysterious voice. But none of that is the author’s fault. That’s just a review of the audio.
This story was fantastically done and would recommend it to anyone who likes real portrayals of family struggles, soldiers coming home from war, and those who generally just like to see real-life interwoven with an intriguing and engaging story.
Genre: Historial, 1945, Arkansas
Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on–responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand–but that everyone is learning to fear.
Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?
Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds–or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?
Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors list.
What I loved: The realistic struggle of not only Sam’s PTSD, but also the struggle of Annie as they navigated their marriage during a time when Sam wasn’t the same man she married.
Favorite Character and Why: Lots of people have been saying Dovie May, but honestly, Sam is my favorite. Maybe it’s because I can relate to him and his staunch decision to protect his family no matter what they think of him. I really love him and his fight to overcome his own personal mental challenges while being there for his family–even when he feels like a failure.
Have you read it? What were your thoughts? If not, what about this story appeals to you?