Today We Go Home

Today We Go Home

by Kelli Estes


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Seattle, Washington
Larkin Bennett has always known her place, whether it's surrounded by her loving family in the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest or conducting a dusty patrol in Afghanistan. But all of that changed the day tragedy struck her unit and took away everything she held dear. Soon after, Larkin discovers an unexpected treasure—the diary of Emily Wilson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the Union in the Civil War. As Larkin struggles to heal, she finds herself drawn deeply into Emily's life and the secrets she kept.

Indiana, 1861
The only thing more dangerous to Emily Wilson than a rebel soldier is the risk of her own comrades in the Union Army discovering her secret. But in the minds of her fellow soldiers, if it dresses like a man, swears like a man, and shoots like a man, it must be a man. As the war marches on and takes its terrible toll, Emily begins to question everything she thought she was fighting for.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492664185
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 88,557
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kelli Estes lived in the deserts of eastern Washington state and Arizona before settling in the Seattle area, which she loves so much she plans to forever live near the water. She's passionate about stories that help us see how the past shaped who we are today, and how we all have more in common than not. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. This is her first novel.

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Today We Go Home: A Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
l loved this book a nd hated to see it end. A wonderful read.
Katy Malinowski 3 months ago
felt like the character development was good but the climax and ending seemed rushed and unexciting.
Anonymous 6 months ago
A wonderful, entertaining and touching historical fiction. Will keep you entertained from beginning to end. This beautifully written book honors women who have served in the military from the civil war to today. It is a lovely story, with great historical accuracy. Another great read from Kelli Estes.
Jdp15 6 months ago
I finished reading "Today We Go Home" by Kelli Estes and it was so good!!!! 5⭐. A great read for Veterans day! Kelli does such a great job weaving the two stories together. It seriously brought tears to my eyes many times. In 1861, Emily dressed up as a man to fight in the United States Civil War alongside her brother. In present day, Larkin (Soldier girl) is struggling with PTSD from her time in Afghanistan. Larkin starts to heal when she is given a diary written by Emily during her time as a soldier. To all the women and men who have served this country, Thank You!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Today We Go Home alternates between present day Washington State and the 1861 Civil War era. Current day Larkin Bennett has recently been medically discharged after serving in the military in Afghanistan. She plans on living with her grandmother and cousin until she can get her life straightened out back in the States. Before arriving at her grandma’s house, Larkin first stops at a rental unit to pick up the belongings she recently inherited from her best friend Sarah who was killed in Afghanistan. Witnessing her best friend and others being killed while on duty has left Larkin trying unsuccessfully to cope with a myriad of debilitating PTSD symptoms. One day while searching through Sarah’s belongings, Larkin discovers an old diary that belonged to Sarah’s relative (Emily Wilson). Emily started the diary when her brother and dad went off to fight in the Civil War. When Emily is hit with tragic news, she decides to join the Union army with her younger brother. In order to do so, she must transform herself into a man (Jesse Wilson) and hope that she can keep her real identity a secret. As Larkin reads Emily’s diary, she finds herself compelled to research more about Emily’s life and the friends she made. Can researching the past, help Larkin deal with her troubling present life? I really enjoyed how the author was able to parallel the dual story lines of a present-day female soldier and a female soldier who would have had to have served secretly dressed as a man during Civil War times. Even though the circumstances of these two women were different, there were several interesting similarities. I found that I liked the Civil War story line more because I enjoy books written during this time period. It was also difficult to read about all the bad things that were happening to Larkin as a result of her PTSD and her guilt over what happened to her friends in Afghanistan. However, I was intrigued by the author’s portrayal of a female character suffering from PTSD. (All of the books I’ve read have male characters with PTSD instead of women.) Although PTSD has had many different names over the years, it has affected both female and male soldiers and I thought it was extremely fascinating to read about how some of the ramifications of PTSD and serving in the military are different for women as compared to men. The author notes in the back of the book piqued my interest about female soldiers during the Civil War and other times in American history. Be sure to read these notes if you end up reading this book. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read Today We Go Home. All thoughts expressed in this review are my honest opinions.
TakingTime 8 months ago
Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for a chance to read this book. Published September 3, 2019 I really enjoyed this book. I had not read Estes before, but I know she had a prior book, that I will now secure and read. In alternating chapters this book bounced back and forth between a current day, just discharged, female combat soldier having served in Afghanistan, and a young woman from the 1850's who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Civil War. The current veteran, Larkin, found the diary of the Civil War veteran, Emily, and read of all the horrific events that Emily went through, while still trying to maintain her own life, riddled with PTSD. Both women suffered devastating losses but yet took different routes to tame the elusive monster in their head. Great story detailing the effects of war on a female soldier - past and present. How the female soldier is treated and her expected role, from both her surrounding military personnel and the general public's perception. Including what the female soldier expects from herself, while enlisted, in time of war and after discharge. Differences were acknowledged between the two women - 1850 to current day - however many similarities also remained.
EastsideFan 11 months ago
CW: PTSD, death in combat/war, suicide, Afghanistan war, Civil War Today We Go Home is a dual time frame historical, that includes narrative about each main character with little actual storyline or plot overlap between the two. Larkin is the modern day MC, an army veteran who has been medically discharged with severe PTSD. She lost her best friend and comrade, Sarah, in an attack, and blames herself. Going through Sarah's things, Larkin discovers a Civil War era diary written by one of Sarah's ancestors, Emily. Emily is the second MC, with her story told both through the diary entries and normal third person narrative. Emily joins the Union Army disguised as a male, in order to stay with her brother, Ben. Throughout are themes related to the roles of women and the service of our veterans, especially our female veterans. The roles of women have always been defined by men, not by the women themselves. Through it all, women have continued to do more and different things than they've been given credit for. Emily is our Civil War era example, with several other secondary characters who were similar women making their own way in a man's world. I think Estes is successful with this theme for Emily's character, because Estes is able to show in real time how limiting it was during the 19th century to be a woman, especially a woman without a man. But people see what they expect to see and Emily is able to succeed with her disguise for a long time. This is Emily's whole storyline, her choosing her own path.. Larkin's story brings us back to veterans and is centered on PTSD. We do not do enough for our veterans and the struggles are real and devastating. We have to do better. Estes does a great job putting us into Larkin's emotions and mental state as she deals with flashbacks, OCD behaviors, nightmares, and efforts to just stop hurting so much. Larkin's whole story is about how she moves forward from the Army and into life. Researching the story of Emily is a huge part of Larkin's journey. It is an unflinching look at PTSD and life after the Army for Larkin. I thought both main characters were sympathetic and well detailed. This is not a book with a meet the characters, here's a conflict, this is how they get out of it - plot line, like in most genre fiction. But the narrative is nicely paced and I wanted to continue to read to see what would happen next. Will Emily be discovered? How will Larkin deal with PTSD, will she get help or continue to spiral? There isn't so much an ending all tied up with a bow, as a coming together of the two storylines in a way that made sense. The history is done well, as told through Emily's eyes. For me, an historical fiction that leads me to want to know more about the history, is a successful read, and that happens here. I definitely ended it wanting to read more about other women in the 19th century, ones like Emily who fought in the war and other women who defined their own roles. Note that Estes also marks the mixed reasons for enlisting and fighting, that occurred amongst Union Army members. Estes allows Emily to realistically learn and grow throughout her time in the Army. Historical fiction fans who enjoy dual time frames, should give this a try. I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
LawladyCase 11 months ago
This is one of the most informative and interesting books to be released this year. Larkin recently returned from servicing in Afghanistan. As a female soldier, she endures sexism, heartbreak and loss. Her PTSD is more difficult to deal with than her knee injury. Unsuccessfully trying to commit suicide, she returns home to her Gram’s house to deal with causing the death of her best friend. In Sarah’s belonging, Larkin discovers the diary of Emily “Jesse” Wilson who joins the Civil War fight disguised as a male. She too faces prejudice, sexism, injury and loss. The details provided in her diary help to walk Larkin though the same hardships as Emily and help her to eventually start to heal. As she reads the diary, Larkin begins to research women who served as men in U.S. wars and discovers that women have serviced in them all. Dealing with depression and flashbacks, Larkin must wade through many similar occurrences as Emily. This is such a moving book. Either of the women’s story would be intriguing. However, the way the author weaves the two stories together in such an intricate was leaves the reader emotionally charged. I dare the reader not to be better aware of female soldiers and their plight after completing this book. I received an ARC from Sourcebooks Landmark through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book. I am voluntarily submitting this review.
sandralb 11 months ago
What an enjoyable and exciting read. We get a bonus, the book contains two great stories of two special female war veterans. Larkin Bennett is our present day hero, serving two deployments to Afghanistan. Her life has ended as she knew it. She has moved in with her grandma to recover and try to deal with the PTSD. While going through her best friends Sarah's things, which were left to her, she finds an old diary. The diary belongs to Emily Wilson. A young woman who disguises herself as a man, so she can fight in the Civil War next to her younger brother. Kelli Estes intertwines contemporary and historical settings flawlessly. This book was one I read long into the night. I could not but it down. Due to the time period, there are some very dark situations during the war. Kelli Estes has a special way of bringing light out of the darkness. I was given a copy of this book by Sourcebook Landmark through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
JulieMT 11 months ago
If they gave 1/2 stars this would be 3 1/2 stars. “Today We Go Home” is an intense and important story of an Afghanistan War Veteran and her re-entry into civilian life. The main character, Larkin, struggles with PTSD and vividly points out the disparaging treatment female military members often face. The story weaves together Larkin’s challenges with the story of a young female soldier during the civil war whose diary Larkin is reading. My favorite part of the book was the time spent during the civil war era. It was a fascinating and rich portrayal of something I knew little about. I had a bit of a hard time relating to Larkin. And while I suspect it was more my lack of understanding than the book, I found Larkin at times too self-absorbed in light of the love and understanding she was surrounded by. This left me, however, even pondering more about the issue of PTSD and what veterans endure. In many ways, I suspect this is exactly what the author is hoping to achieve, getting the reader to stop and think about the struggles veterans, and particularly women veterans have during their service and upon re-entry to civilian life! I additionally enjoyed the author’s notes at the end about why and how she approached this book. It is an incredibly well-researched novel and the author tackles the issues presented with compassion and honesty! “Today We Go Home” is well worth the time spent reading it. It is an eye-opening experience on so many different levels! I was honored to receive a free advance copy of the book from NetGalley and the Publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review.
WendyGo 12 months ago
I really enjoyed Kelli Estes' last book, 'The Girl Who Wrote in Silk' and was happy to read a galley of her new book that comes out this summer. This story explores the history of women who served our country during our civil war, in the 1860s. In order to do so, these women had to pretend to be men. Back to present day, we meet Larissa, who served in Afghanistan, and is back home with the diary of the woman who fought during the civil war. While their stories are unique, the running themes in this one are similar, even today. There were female veterans of the Civil War, who suffered from PTSD, and suffered at the hands of their fellow male soldiers. This story is quite timely with the current 'ME TOO' movement. While the ending was a little far fetched for me, I did enjoy the history of this story and the historical elements.
Isabelle Wagner 12 months ago
Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes at first appears to be just another book to add to the historical fiction stack that has been done so much lately but the more you read, the more you realize that it is so much more. This story follows the time line of a present day soldier that was released for medical reasons and a soldier in the Civil War area that disguised herself as a man in order to be able to serve her country. The way Estes connected these two stories is incredible and it showcases not only the struggles that women had to deal with back then and still now, but also how time and again, women show their strength and resilience despite of the obstacles in their lives they are forced to face. Estes tackles the difficult topic of PTSD in a way that makes it a little easier to understand though nobody that has not had to deal with it themselves will ever be able to fully understand the terror of it. This book is a great example of strength, resilience, growth, and the importance of knowing who your family, your circle is (whether by blood or not).
lee2staes 12 months ago
This book is amazing!! “Today We Go Home” weaves together the lives of Emily who enlists as a Union soldier disguised as a man during the Civil War and Larkin a present day war veteran. The author highlights the struggle and persistence of woman past and present in the military. It is an extremely well-researched novel that tackles the issues presented with understanding and truthfulness and it gives excellent insights into the ways veterans cope with traumatic events. It has a strong story line and captivating central characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. I highly recommend it! My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
CLynnT 12 months ago
Kelli Estes helps us understand PTSD and its effects on today’s soldiers with her vivid description of lead character Larkin Bennett’s thoughts and reactions. Larkin is a wounded warrior attempting to function in normal daily routines after her traumatic time in Afghanistan. She also brings to life the amazing history of women who fought in the Civil War thru her diary excerpts and story of Emily Watson, a young girl in Indiana during the outbreak of the war in 1861. Reading “A Note from the Author” after finishing this emotional book gave me new insight and great respect for the work Kelli did prior to and during her writing. This is a well-thought-out book flashing back and forth almost 200 years with so many similarities between these two women caught in a war, not of their choosing, and yet doing their patriotic best to serve the country they deeply love. Not all books can have happy endings, but Ms. Estes ends this in a sensitive and endearing way. This was truly a compassionate and thoughtful read. (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks so much to Sourcebooks / Landmark and NetGalley for making it available.)
Anonymous 12 months ago
A mesmerizing tale, based on true events, of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to fight on the front lines of the Civil War. The story is told in alternating timelines between the Civil War and the story of a modern day female soldier in Afghanistan. I learned a lot about the Civil War and women in the Military! The author did a great job keeping things historically accurate and I found it easy to be immersed into the timelines of both women and their stories.
gypsygrandmatv 12 months ago
Today We Go Home surprised me! It snuck up and grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It's an emotional look at what military women face during and after their years of service. The story follows two women...Emily who during the Civil War had to disguise herself as a man to serve and Larkin who served in Afghanistan and is battling her own demons. Using alternating points of view and time the author tells the very real story of sexism in the military and sheds light on the pain of PTSD that so many suffer from. Ultimately Larkin and Emily both are able to forgive themselves and find a path to happiness. Initially Larkin's story interested me much more than Emily's, but her bravery and tenacity drew me into her story. I knew that there were women who fought as men in the early wars but this was the first time reading about them and what they went through. I wholeheartedly recommend this book...I also recommend reading the author 's very insightful afterword when you are finished with the book. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
jjthor 12 months ago
An excellent story! This book is set in both todays world and war time 1861. Two women different time periods but so much in common. It starts out with the life of Larkin a soldier suffering from PTSD and loss. She discovers a diary written by a women called Emily back in 1861 telling her life as she disguises herself and fights in the war.. the history in this book is very well written and the subjects it covers is so true to many in this time period the devastation war can cause on the body and mind. Well worth reading.