Say the words “Army wife,” and what often comes to mind is the image of a teary-eyed woman running to hug her returning combat soldier-husband or a caricature based on a slickly produced reality TV show. The Immortals is different. This stunning first novel full of emotion addresses the truth of the female predicament — the unsung heroes who are left behind on the homefront of war. We experience the love and challenges between husband and wife, we feel the closeness of mother and daughter, and we bond with the most unlikely of women. When we first meet Calli Coleman, a classically trained musician from a well-connected Baltimore family, it is the summer of 2005 and the United States has been at war in Iraq for two years. She has been uprooted from the hometown she adores and abruptly lands in the role of Army wife in provincial Sackets Harbor, New York outside of Fort Drum. Naïve to all things military, Calli has no idea what’s in store for her when Luke’s infantry unit deploys to the Iraq War to an area CNN dubs “The Triangle of Death”. Left back in New York with their three-year-old daughter Audrey, black Labrador Satchmo, and a fat cat named Charlemagne, Calli has a steep learning curve as she tumbles into a complicated social hierarchy where she finds her well-heeled childhood does her more harm than good. Desperately missing her friends and family and amid the impertinent Army wives, unlikely friendships evolve with Josie, Rachel, and Daphne. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, and certainly unlike her dynamic, jet-setting best friend Eula, these women will nonetheless come together for courage, support, and to embark upon the deeply emotional roller coaster ride of being an Army wife.
With only letters and email as their communication, Calli knows very little about Luke’s mission in Iraq. Through their letters we get a beautiful picture of their love for each other and what it means to serve our Nation but Luke cannot share much about the confidential assignment. The news on the radio and television is never good. Calli dreads the phone ringing to tell her of more soldiers being blown up by IEDs or killed by gunfire and she fears “The Trifecta” - the casualty assistance officer, rear-detachment office, and chaplain – will be sitting in her driveway waiting to tell her the worst news she can imagine. In Luke’s absence, Calli, alone with her daughter, learns that if anything is worth fighting for, it’s the unpredictable new friendships that will sustain her through loneliness and the ever-present specter of widowhood. At the end Calli will find herself on an unexpected course full of epiphanies about herself and her marriage.
The Immortals is an emotional examination of marriage, friendship, war, and death. Tori Eversmann, through her distinctive voice that comes from her own time as an Army wife, has given us an unforgettable story.
"THE IMMORTALS gives an intimate, honest, unflinching look into the lives of military families during times of war. Our hero, Callie Coleman, is courageous, plucky, and resilient. Your heart will beat along with hers on every page of this tender yet harrowing story." -Jessica Anya Blau, Author of Wonderbread Summer
Tori Eversmann, wife of retired First Sergeant Matt Eversmann, the soldier who inspired the lead character in the book and movie Black Hawk Down, lives in West Palm Beach with their daughter, two black Labradors – Maybellene and Pamuk, and two cats – Genghis and Gatto.
Posted by Erika on 29th Feb 2016
What a brilliant story! Having had friends in the military, I loved reading this honest yet entertaining read of what a wife goes through during her husband's deployment. The main character is developed with a great deal of depth, particularly in the first half of the story, setting a solid context for the shock that occurs when a gifted musician raised in posh Baltimore and Nantucket becomes isolated in the culture of an upstate NY military base and its rural community. With twists and turns, the second half of the book focuses intensely on the period of his deployment and of her determination to survive and thrive as she hopes for his return. As she forges bonds with locals and other military spouses, Cali develops the maturity to lead others as she simultaneously faces the dangers and isolation of her husband's deployment. The pride in her husband's accomplishments never waiver as she finds her own ways to get through the sometimes dark months without him, to nurture her soul, inspire others and raise her young daughter. You can't help but root for the main character as she shows the strains of military life together with a bright dignity, humanity and humor. I would highly recommend this book!