When Larkin Bennett returns home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, she's grieving the death of her best friend and fellow soldier, Sarah, and struggling to deal with the tragedy that caused it. Among Sarah's possessions, Larkin finds a diary written by Emily Wilson, an ancestor of Sarah who lived and fought as a man during the American Civil War. In her second novel, Today We Go Home, Kelli Estes weaves a thought-provoking narrative of two pairs of strong women, a century and a half apart, fighting to be taken seriously on and off the battlefield.
Estes (The Girl Who Wrote in Silk) draws readers into the lives of both her protagonists, highlighting their contrasts and their similarities. Emily decides to follow her father and brothers into battle because she can't bear the thought of staying home. Larkin is proud of her service to her country, but wracked with guilt over her role in Sarah's death. She struggles with both PTSD and a new direction in life after her honorable discharge. Readers gradually learn more about that day in Afghanistan, and follow Emily through battles and marches. Both stories ask subtle but insistent questions about the treatment of women in the U.S. military (past and present), and the tensions between family, ambition, honor and love. Today We Go Home is a compelling examination of war and its contradictions, and a moving story of two women fighting for their own places in the world. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams