It's the 1960s, and cultural and political unrest is sweeping across America. In the midst of this turmoil, three young Americans find themselves on a path that sends them to join the war effort in Vietnam; Dion Murphy, a handsome football player from Georgia; Cathy Addison, a pretty young nurse from Minnesota; and Norman Coddington, a young man from a wealthy but dysfunctional Boston family. While in Vietnam, all three, along with a beautiful young nurse from the Philippines, must confront enemies from their pasts while walking into an uncertain future. Set against the backdrop of minor skirmishes and culminating in one of the Vietnam War's longest and bloodiest battles, Whisper in My Ear is a story of two loving couples--with ordinary desires and passions--who are called on to bear witness to an extraordinary time as they serve in the US Marine Corps and the US Navy, and strive to fulfill their duties and follow their orders, whether they agree with them or not, while a gruesome and bloody war rages all around them. This novel also emphasizes the important role women play in all wars, whether they remain at home or serve abroad, and the debt of gratitude the wounded owe to the critical and angelic care of a combat nurse. The insane torture of captured and or wounded American Marines by the Apache woman is almost unbelievable but true, as are the facts about the Vietnamese culture and the war itself. The Vietcong women were also adept spies and snipers, and the male sniper characterized in the story is based on the life of a famous North Vietnamese mercenary. The story also depicts the exploits of the Vietnam War's most famous American sniper, Marine Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, and the torment suffered by Americans in the prison camp known as the Hanoi Hilton.
Review by Feathered Quill
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Whisper in My Ear (Vol. 1 of III)By: John Henry Hardy
Publication Date: July 2015
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: February 28, 2018
In a world that now supports the men and women who serve this country, there was a time that those brave ones did not receive the respect they most definitely deserved. This is one story that puts the spotlight on this subject, drawing readers in with everything from its incredible scenery to its powerful plots and even more intriguing characters.
This story wraps around a trio of different personalities that come from very different worlds. The first we meet is Dion Murphy; he is about to become a college football hero. What Dion always wanted was to follow the rest of the males in his family and enter West Point. You see, the "Murphy" name appeared on every muster role of every war dating back to the American Revolution. Trouble is, he got turned down by West Point (a couple of times) and made a vow to his football coach at his current school, The Bryant Military Academy in Dallas, that he would give up the need to go to the Point and stay with the school and the football team. His oath means everything to him. One day, however, he finally gets accepted to the Point and decides not to go because of that oath. We learn all about his background, growing up and fishing in the swamplands...even the 'attack' by a creature of Mother Nature that took away his most precious mentor.
Next we meet up with a young woman by the name of Cathy Addison who is at the end of a harsh Minnesota winter. Cathy is about to graduate, which she is definitely happy about, but she has also gone through a horrific time with a man named Jeffrey who she loved and thought was the man of her dreams; a man who turned out to be nothing more than a cad. We learn about her background and that she, too, comes from a long line of people who served, even during the well-known battle at Gettysburg. She has a gift for helping the sick and the injured. Cathy is all about compassion, which will serve her well. It's too bad that the person she loved most had no need for compassion whatsoever.
The last of the trio comes into play when we are introduced to Major Norman Coddington. He is a man who fights in the air. He is also a bit of a playboy who likes to fly fast and take chances. Currently in Puerto Rico, his backstory unfolds and we learn of his father, the law firm Norman was supposed to work in, and the fact that he is from quite a wealthy Boston family that, unfortunately, has far more love for their bank accounts and other financial assets than they do for each other.
Vietnam is on the near horizon, and these three people will be followed by readers as they go through glory, pain, and dangers that await them. They will each use the experiences during their early lives to help them survive and deal with this new war zone. The author will let us understand why Dion feels as if Old Glory is an old friend. We'll watch young Cathy become Lieutenant Cathy Addison, RN, and see her journey through life place her directly in Dion's path. We will race through the skies with Norman and, most importantly, we will root for them all.
The only thing that's upsetting about this book is where it ends: you will want more. This is a highly powerful story with characters you love, and a few that you literally cannot stand. Because there are two more volumes to come, which are sure to be of the highest caliber, jumping aboard this train now is a must. The author is not only deserving of respect when it comes to his own years of service, but he deserves double for taking the time to write this unforgettable book.
Quill says: You will enjoy this immensely and perhaps learn a thing or two along the way.
From Kirkus Reviews
Three young Americans,haunted and buoyed by family legacies, meet during the Vietnam War in this debut historical novel. In the 1960s, Dion Murphy is a star middle linebacker descended from a long line of soldiers dating back to the Civil War. He desperately wants to live up to their accomplishments and the family's reputation for honor, so he stays at Bryant Military Academy, where his relatives went, even after he's accepted into the considerably more prestigious West Point; later, he turns down a chance t a pro football career to serve in the Marines during the Vietnam War. Cathy Addison has the soul of a caregiver, much like her courageous,compassionate ancestor, who was murdered by Native Americans. Like Dion, she's also attached to the virtue of honor; as a result, she attempts to remain true to her fiance, despite his boorish behavior. She becomes a nurse in the Navy medical corps and gets deployed to Vietnam. Norman Coddington is born to a prominent family in Boston but suffers due to a chillingly cold mother and absentee father. He wrestles with existential angst, which expresses itself as a reckless embrace of risk, which led him to Vietnam. All three characters encounter, in one way or another,the savage lessons of war and are transformed by them. At one point, for example, Norman reflects on his dreams of war glory: "Yet now those fantasies meant little in the face of the harsh realities of combat, and he'd become aware that he was a foolish lad when he'd spawned those ideals." Overall, this novel is first and foremost a tale about grappling with one's ineluctable past. Hardy masterfully depicts how the weight of family history can accumulate over successive generations,and how such a legacy can be either a guiding compass or an oppressive yoke. He also deftly captures the barbarous reality of war. The three characters' stories ultimately intersect, but only very late in the novel, so each plot maintains its own autonomous life. A sensitively rendered story about the impact of the past on the future, and about the morally clarifying effects of war.