7 May 2013



“…in order for a man to be free, he must bind himself to his own destiny…”

What happens when a bright young man’s promising future is tragically derailed at the age of eighteen?

Thirty-five-year-old James Milligan, the solitary and impenetrable chief architect at one of Chicago’s leading design firms, has never recovered from the gruesome death of his best friend nearly two decades before. He’s learned that a distant heart is the only way to shut out the nagging guilt and pain that threatens to capsize him at any moment. Only the dying veterans at the Aaron Milligan Palliative Care Center know the depth of the overwhelming compassion that James harbors within himself, and he is determined never to let anyone else into his heart — or his future — again.

However, when caring and patient palliative care nurse Rebecca Doyle enters his world, his hardened exterior begins to crack against his will. Will Martin Diggs, the charismatic and perplexing Vietnam War veteran convince James that it’s not too late to reclaim his future?
..... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Lisle, Illinois - August 3, 1995): The hot sun beats down on Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church, illuminating its stained glass windows and causing beams of light to crisscross above the oak benches inside.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 86): When word got around that Anna is gone, many of the veterans gather in the chapel to honor the loss of their young fallen comrade. Candles are lit as the men discreetly pass around a flask of brandy from pew to pew.
Martin raises his flask up in the air. "I'll be seeing you, McBain."

MY THOUGHTS: Oh my goodness, what an amazing novel. A story of rediscovery, of rebirth, of finding oneself, its been a long while since I found myself on such an emotional rollercoaster, that I invested so much in a character - the charismatic war veteran Martin Diggs will stay with me for a long time to come.

A truly bitter-sweet read. Given that Last Train To Omaha is set in a palliative care hospital for the veterans of various conflicts (Vietnam and Afghanistan included) and is largely about James 'Jimmy' Milligan, a very damaged man scarred by the death of his childhood friend some 20 years previously, you could be forgiven for thinking it would be a relentlessly depressing novel when in fact its anything but.

Though, without doubt an exceptionally moving read (I'd be surprised if you made it through to the end without the need for a box of tissues) essentially its a story full of such hope. Wonderfully well written, the authors love and compassion for these characters shines through, I'd love to see it as a film.

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Mary (Bookfan) said...

Wonderful review, Tracy! I'm adding the title to my list. Thanks for telling us about the book.

Nina Gray said...

errr, Tracey, how many books do you read in a day?
I have a loooong to read list...

Gina said...

Yay! So glad to see something more on this one. Just added it to my "to read" list for later this year...I agree, the synopsis alone made it sound good but your review certainly upped the anty. Thanks! ^_^

Felicity Grace Terry said...

I tend to read about a 100 pages a 'night' Nina - sometimes more and sometimes less.

Kelly said...

I didn't think this one sounded that interesting until I got to your part of the review. You might have changed my mind!

Mama Zen said...

This sounds outstanding!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy

When I started reading the post, I almost never finished it, as I assumed that this would be a non-fiction book.

I am still struggling that a book with such a strong and emotionally charged storyline is a novel ... and a debut one at that!!

I agree that this sounds like ideal script material for a film.

It's already added to my list, so thanks for the recommendation!


brandileigh2003 said...

Discovery and bittersweet sounds right up my alley

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Although I do hate to cry, I often love a moving book like this one. Love a self discovery type of book. Will have to add this one to the wishlist!

Sandy M. said...

This sounds good Tracy, thank you for the review! :)

Cherie Reich said...

Fantastic review! And that line "...in order for a man to be free, he must bind himself to his own destiny..." is so thought-provoking.

Blond Duck said...

Now that you've said it, you know it'll be a movie!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Excellent review! The fact that you described it as amazing made me want to read it right away. I will keep tissues on hand- as I am sure I will need them!

Yanting Gueh said...

Wow, I'll search for the book and prepare a box of tissue in advance. Thanks for bringing this to the table, Petty!

The Bookworm said...

Glad you loved it Tracy, I'll be reading Last Train To Omaha as well. Fantastic review.