The Healing

by Mark Hardage
LitFire Publishing

"The two men stood there on the banks of the Canadian River, crying like little babies. No holds barred. Raw, unabashed and unashamed emotion spilled out from both of them."

War is devastating. It rips the hearts out of families, communities, and countries. Hardage captures the raw emotional journeys of the Crockett family and their closest friends, the Willinghams. They all desperately beckon normalcy to return in the wake of tragedy, the death of Navy Seal, Travis Crockett. During his first year of military service, Travis Crockett, a Navy Seal has died in a fire fight in Afghanistan. Longtime family friend, Chaplin Charles Willingham, is haunted by the fact he introduced Travis to a Navy Seals career. Willingham and his wife, Teresa, make an impromptu visit to the Crocketts as a mission of reconciliation.

The author skillfully gives each character their own voice. Each chapter is a highlighted turn in the journey of various phases. The story begins with reconciliation and facing grief head on. It progresses with everyone embracing, sharing happy and painful memories that are mixed with lots of humorous stories. It includes recognizing not only Travis’ bravery, but the individual courage of each character by starting new friendships, accepting their grief, which could only happen through being fearless, and the love of family and close friends.

Most importantly, the author allows the characters to be unapologetically human. Hardage does a phenomenal job of narrating the emotionally charged experiences of each character. He has a keen ability of helping his readers feel as if they are physically a part of the story, experiencing the embraces from Cali and Nash, being present on the shot down Blackhawk helicopter where Clay discovers his dying best friend, or holding Clay’s trembling hand as he reveals the final moments of Travis’ life. Written in such a clever, rhythmic cadence, most readers will not be able to put this book down until the last page has been read.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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