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Revenants: The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman – Review

RevenantsTitle: Revenants – The Odyssey Home
Author: Scott Kauffman
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Genre(s): Adult, Historical Fiction, War
Source: Sent by Author
Pages: 306
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Synopsis:

ONLY BETSY CAN GET HIM HOME IN TIME; ONLY HE CAN BRING HER BACK BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

A grief-stricken candy-striper serving in a VA hospital following her brother’s death in Viet Nam struggles to return home an anonymous veteran of the Great War against the skullduggery of a congressman who not only controls the hospital as part of his small-town fiefdom but knows the name of her veteran. A name if revealed would end his political ambitions and his fifty-year marriage. In its retelling of Odysseus’ journey, Revenants casts a flickering candle upon the charon toll exacted not only from the families of those who fail to return home but of those who do.

Review:

This book was so different from what I usually read. I normally don’t like war stories or adult fiction, but I wanted to venture outside my comfort zone and expand my reading. That being said, this book wasn’t my favorite. I had trouble connecting to the writing style and characters but mostly stuck it out because I was curious enough about where the plot was going to see how the story concluded.

I had a lot of trouble connecting to the characters and the plot. There were times where the plot picked up and I was invested, then a couple of pages later, the writing slowed down and I had trouble connecting again. Also, there were times where it was confusing as to which character was speaking since some chapters had the POV change and some did not. The writing also went between third and first person. That aside, the over arching story was a tragic kind of beautiful. The odyssey parallels were subtle and addressed directly in the book if you had trouble detecting them, but were not what I was expecting. This is more of a mirrored theme interpretation of the story rather than a loose retelling as the book was marked. If you do not look at this story with any connection to Homer’s epic poem, the stand alone journey reads as a better story. At least in my opinion.

Betsy starts off as an incredibly unlikable main character as first, but she grows as the story progresses. Watching her solve the mystery of who the mysterious patient is was great to read about. His back stories were a little less interesting, but watching everything come together was a lot of fun. I guess I just wish there were more consequences when the identity is discovered. I felt like that part was kind of brushed over.

I also really like that there was no romance in this book. The story didn’t need a central romance and Scott was wise to leave one out. While he did hint at attractions forming between some of the characters, nothing was explored or fleshed out. I also like how he included an epilogue, following the characters into their later years after the events of the story. It really added to what we were reading and felt like the perfect way to wrap everything up.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, the story Revenants gave the reader was tragic and at times, beautiful.  A mystery leads a girl to overcome grief and helps a soldier find his way home after fifty years. I personally just had trouble connecting to the plot and characters due to writing style. I also think that this genre is just not for me; I tried this book to branch out and expand my reading tastes. For those that truly enjoy this genre, I feel like you will enjoy this book.

Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ – 3.5/5 Stars

Author Spotlight:

Scott KauffmanScott Kauffman claims his fiction career began with an in-class book report written in Mrs. Baer’s eighth-grade English class when, due to a conflict of priorities, he failed to read the book. An exercise of imagination was required. Scott snagged a B, better than the C he received on his last report when he actually read the book. Thus began his life-long apprenticeship as a teller of tales and, some would snidely suggest, as a lawyer as well, but they would be cynics, a race Oscar Wilde warned us knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. Scott is the author of the legal-suspense novel, In Deepest Consequences, and a recipient of the 2011 Mighty River Short Story Contest and the 2010 Hackney Literary Award. His short fiction has appeared in Big Muddy, Adelaide Magazine, and Lascaux Review. He is now at work on two novel manuscripts and a collection of short stories. He is an attorney in Irvine, California, where his practice focuses on white-collar crime and tax litigation with his clients providing him endless story fodder. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and in the upper ten percent of his class from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, where he was a member of the Environmental Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award in Conflict of Laws.

Scott’s late wife serves as a muse for this story and that definitely shines through. Beautiful and slightly haunting, Revenants is a great pick for historical fiction fans.


Disclaimer: Although the author, Scott Kauffman, contacted me personally to review his novel, I was not compensated for my review. Furthermore, my review is comprised of my personal thoughts that were in no way influenced by the author or publisher.

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