Twilight of Honor
Wynne Reardon is an Air Force wife whose husband, Michael, is missing in action – then declared dead – in Vietnam. His remains are not recovered, and Wynne cannot let go of her hope that this valiant, posthumously-decorated fighter pilot may yet be found alive. As Wynne develops her art gallery and finds a potential new love, she is held back at every turn by her inability to accept that her husband is really dead. She cannot move forward to accept the love of another good man, a fellow artist and also a Vietnam veteran. She is cruelly scammed by false-hope agencies who give her bogus information suggesting that Michael is still alive. It is many years before Wynne can achieve closure. In the meantime, the author weaves in the history of this painful war that so divided America. All the struggles with moral and political issues are discussed here, under the veil of fiction.
Smith’s publisher describes this story as light romance, which doesn’t really give the book enough credit. The romance is there, all right, as is the interesting trope of the art gallery and the luscious, seaside, tropical Florida setting. The stilted dialogue and pedestrian prose in some spots detract from the book, and there is a really failed transition. The 1970s are suddenly the early 1980s, and then 1986 – leaving the reader flummoxed and wondering where thirteen years went.
Still, the war issues and the effect a military member’s death has on family and friends are depicted all too well. This reviewer is herself a Vietnam-era USAF veteran. The story’s final evocative resolution left her in tears.