When the Clouds Roll By
Winner, 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best Award for historical fiction!
Annemarie Kendall is overjoyed when the armistice is signed and the Great War comes to an end. Her fiancé, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard, is coming home, and though he is wounded, she is excited to start their life together. But when he arrives, her dreams are dashed when she learns Gilbert is suffering from headaches, depression, and an addiction to pain killers. This is not the man she had planned to marry.
After serving in the trenches, Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary is barely holding onto his faith. Putting up a brave front as he ministers to the injured soldiers at the hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he befriends Gilbert and eventually falls for Annemarie. While Annemarie tries to sort out her confused feelings about the two men in her life, she witnesses firsthand the bitterness and hurt they both hold within. Who will she choose? Will she have the courage to follow her heart and become the woman God intended her to be?
As the world emerges from the shadow of war, Annemarie clings to her faith as she wonders if her future holds the hope, happiness, and love for which she so desperately longs.
What readers are saying on Amazon.com:
When the Clouds Roll By was a really good read and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like it! . . . If you are a fan of historicals, I think you’ll also like this book. I recommend it!
It’s refreshing that Annemarie is a potter. Johnson really did her homework in this area. I’ve thrown a few bowls (both on the wheel and against the wall) and she describes the sights, smells, feels and physicality of throwing pots accurately. I also enjoyed the love story between Annemarie and the man she chose to love. There was growth of all three characters and a push-pull tension between them throughout the book. If you like complex, brooding men, independent women and happily-ever-afters, you’ll love this book.
The story is not formulaic or super-sweet. Instead, the characters are real people, with real problems but also deep faith. In other words, these are people you would want to know. In addition to well-drawn characters, the book is authentically researched and simply well-written. I’ve read most of Johnson’s work to date and think this is the best yet. I’m looking forward to what comes next!
While this story is fictional, the characterization was so life-like and the conflict so believable. I can imagine similar scenarios happening back then, even now. Men and women still return home from war, scarred emotionally and physically. . . . I enjoyed how the author tucked in little nuggets of historical goodies, like how people conserved food during World War I. That, plus the tidbits about Hot Springs and the nice sub-plot that ran through the book made the story so rich and complex.
Johnson has created a lovely romance in a difficult time, incorporating the twists and turns of old hopes and new dreams in times of hardship. Before the popularity of “Downton Abbey”, World War I has been kind of overlooked in romantic circles, so this historic setting sets a perfect tone for new beginnings. Loved it!
Johnson has woven such a compelling and complex story that honestly, I’ve never been so close to throwing my highly held reader standards out the window and devouring the last page first. . . . Johnson gives a voice to thousands of World War I veterans—men and women who were grossly misunderstood and under treated. . . . You will reach a point of no return and will have to compulsively read until you reach the end so it is best to clear your calendar and send your family on holiday without you so you can enjoy a reading staycation.
I enjoyed how realistic and gritty it was and watching each character coming to the realization that God loves them just as they are. This book is perfect for fans of love triangles, dramas, or WWI novels.
I loved this book! I read it in one sitting. It was incredibly well written. Ms. Johnson sure knows her stuff. She must have done tons of research into WWI, the world of potters, clay and glazes, as well as medical procedures and practices of the time. They all seemed spot on. Her characters seemed to grow throughout the book,driven by a great storyline. I was drawn to Annemarie and Samuel from the minute I met them. Gilbert made me want to shake him, all the while having some sympathy for him due to what he had gone through during the war. Characters, attention to detail and a great story make this book easy to recommend to everyone.
Stories set during or after World War I are hard to come by and good stories are even scarcer. Ms. Johnson has stepped up to the void and filled it with a winner. . . . Ms. Johnson does an outstanding job of bringing her characters to life and you feel that you know and understand each of them and feel their individual pain. On top of that really want their romance to succeed. What a great way to start a new series. I am already looking forward to the next book.
I enjoyed the detail, dialogue, and each chapter seen from the viewpoint of a different character. It was the attention to detail that first captivated me. I felt as if I was there in Hot Springs, Arkansas with Annemarie Kendall and Lt. Gilbert Ballard, seeing what they saw and tasting what they tasted. The dialogue also intrigued me. It helped me know Annemarie, Gilbert and Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary very well.
When the Clouds Roll By is a romance, but it’s an unpredictable one. The “winner” of Annemarie’s affections is not apparent from the first page (in contrast to most romance novels), and I wasn’t sure how Johnson would resolve the love triangle until near the end of the book. I definitely enjoyed the unpredictability! I also appreciated that the romance didn’t overshadow the rest of the book.
Myra Johnson has created a fresh,realistic take on the love triangle, post WWI events and wounded hero romances. . . . A unique setting, heroine who is a potter, issues still faced today, make for a very engaging read. Can’t wait for the next book in the series.
When the Clouds Roll By is the first in an exciting, thought provoking new series. . . . The end of the story causes the reader to “beg for more”.
The most compelling part of this story is its relevance for today: families are still trying to find the words, the actions, that will help a wounded soldier to come home and get well and strong again. Whether we call it shell-shock or PTSD, it is still with us. A new war, but the same pain. . . . This story, When the Clouds Roll By, which is written with passion about a time period I haven’t found in many books, around people whom I empathized with as I read, is an all-around winner.
As a predominantly nonsecular reader I was worried I might find the underlying messages overbearing or preachy, but this was not the case. Though essential to the central story, Johnson managed a nice balance between the spiritual and secular, making her work enjoyable for believers and nonbelievers alike.
It’s not a typical romance with an ending that’s obvious from the first page, and I liked that unpredictability. . . . I’m certainly keen to return to Hot Springs, because there are a few minor characters I’d like to see more of. Recommended.
This one is poignant and compelling, making me turn page after page in wondering in anticipation if it would turn out as expected. I was not disappointed.