The War in Our Hearts

Written by Eva Seyler
Review by Viviane Crystal

Augustus Jamie Graham’s life story is depicted here, with his phenomenal joys and sorrows. Broken by his father’s physical and verbal abuse, Jamie finds comfort only in music from various instruments and in the psalms of Scripture. Boarding school is more of the same shunning and persecution by bullying peers. His best friend is his brother, George, but they are separated during their teen years. Witnessing a sexual scene is traumatic for Jamie, further still when he learns that his father has perverted lusts. It’s not until Jamie meets Estelle that he learns to open to true love.

During World War I, in 1916, Jamie meets Aveline Perrault, a young girl who has been raped by a German and has lost her brother to the same man. Aveline learns to trust Captain Graham, who becomes her surrogate father. The pains of childhood heal for them both. And survival happens, but not the way the reader expects.

The War in Our Hearts, for the most part, deals less with plot than with the internal thoughts and feelings of its characters. Insecurities, fears, hatreds, and joys are exposed in a way that rivets the reader’s attention, connection, and support. No matter how tough circumstances seem, Jamie, Aveline, Estelle, and George learn to celebrate their bond of love that, without being contrived, enables more than survival. Hope is a very real entity that each seeks and learns to value. One may wonder how such cruel and evil people exist, but Seyler focuses her message more on the birth of compassion, fairness, and strength through turmoil and tragedy. Remarkable, highly recommended historical fiction.