Going Home by Carole Brungar
Carole Brungar is a New Zealand author, and Going Home is the third novel she has written about the war in Vietnam, that takes the reader back in time to the sixties.
Ronnie is one of the main characters in Going Home, and she volunteers to spend 12 months nursing in a South Vietnamese hospital. She’s an excellent nurse from New Zealand, but she is ill-prepared for the heat and poverty and the dangers of nursing in a war zone. The other main character is Joe, an American pilot on his second tour of duty. He’s a guy with a cool head, always good in a crisis.
Going Home is a love story set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Ronnie and Joe met at the officers’ club and begin a relationship – but both know the odds are stacked against them of surviving this war to be together. The war is escalating, and hundreds of lives are being lost every day. Ronnie is seeing heart breaking injuries in the children she is nursing, and while Joe is an excellent pilot, his job is increasingly dangerous – and there is a very real fear he won’t make it back from a mission.
I don’t want to give too much away, but things get very tense near the end of this novel, and you’ll be biting your nails to see how things work out.
There is a great sense of place and time in Going Home and the author does a wonderful job creating a love story in the midst of this terrible conflict. Both Ronnie and Joe are well-crafted characters you will care for but be warned you might need a box of tissues for the ending.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan