Out of the Depths by Antonia Harris

depths★★★  This first book in Antonia Harris’ “The Jonson Chronicles” follows Lettie Jonson after she receives word that her husband Bruce has been tortured and wounded while fighting in Afghanistan. After making her way overseas to be with her husband and accompanying him home, Lettie learns that the pain he experienced is far from over. Bruce’s physical limitations and PTSD-triggered outbursts affect his relationship with Lettie. Despite this unknown state of their relationship, Lettie perseveres – she is relentless in trying to understand this new side to her husband and how to love him as she did before. After a trip home to spend Thanksgiving with her family, Lettie and Bruce learn through an outpouring of support and a reminder of faith that, despite their struggles, their love is resilient.

Out of the Depths is ultimately a story of healing in the aftermath of trauma, and of the toll that one event has on a person’s entire family. It is unflinching in its honesty regarding the struggles faced by veterans and their families, while constantly remaining hopeful about their futures. This heart of the book does unfortunately get eclipsed by a lack of scene development, which leads to strained and awkward dialogue and abrupt introductions of new characters and plot threads. The pacing of the novel is also a bit disjointed and jumpy, ultimately distracting the reader from the otherwise compelling characters. Nevertheless, the ideas and themes introduced in Out of the Depths are heartfelt and honest, and will hopefully grow into a strong series.

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