Last Salute – Tracey Richardson

Last SaluteLambda Literary FInalistPamela Wright already feels alone and slightly lost when a knock at the door signifies the end of her last real connection. Her older sister Laura has died in a helicopter crash on the way to a forward hospital while on tour in Afghanistan. Facing her loss alone seems too much to bear.

Trish Tomlinson notices that the flag has been lowered to half mast at the high school where she teaches and is stunned to find that the alumni they are honoring is her first and only love.

When Pam sees Trish as the funeral cars move through Ann Arbor she realizes there is one person who will share her grief, one person who will understand. As the two women support each other through their pain old feelings surface, new feelings emerge. But will grief and guilt be too big a hurdle for them to overcome?


Last Salute is an interesting story with several complex layers of emotion. On the one hand it is about how we become who we are, how some people chose a life others find alien and what motivates those choices. It is also about how we deal with grief, the grief of losing a loved one and the grief of being left behind when relationships don’t work out. At the same time it is a romance, but a romance which has to deal with guilt and bereavement.

Pam has lost her father to a plane crash, her mother to cancer and now her sister. – first to the army, then to the crash. She has fought to create a life for herself but is burdened by never being as good as her big sister. She has never recovered from a teenage crush on her sisters girlfriend and has lived a life following in her sisters footsteps. Now she has to grow into herself, find out what she wants and who she is.

Trish though she has the ideal dream – happy and in love with her high school sweetheart. But Laura chose the army over their dream and Trish has spent 13 years waiting for her to come back. Now she has to chose whether to let her heart die with Laura or face up to the fact that Laura never chose her.

Tracey richardson bioIn amidst all of this is an exploration of how the people who chose to put their lives on the line feel about the risks they take and the legacy they leave. Ms Richardson not only takes us into the heart of a forward hospital and an army base, but to the VA medical center back home. She shows us how the troops try to deal with the fear, how they come to terms with the risk, and by default we see why they find it so very hard to adjust to ‘normality’ when they come home.

Well written and a skillful balance between current growth and old pain, woven around the impact Laura had in life, and the legacy she has left. A gentle romance dealing with some of the hardest issues we all have to face.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 219 pages
  • First published 2013
  • Publisher: Bella Books (November 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
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