FIRST PLACE in the category HISTORICAL FICTION
Reader Views Literary Award — 2009
Announced March, 2010
Duty to one's love and duty to one's country are things held in equal esteem to many. "The Sweet War Man" is a love triangle between an army man, his beloved who hates war, and a third woman who is more understanding of the soldier's duty. Randy is split between loyalties, and can't decide what's right.An intriguing story emerges. September 9, 2009
The Sweet War Man is the story of Randy Thayer. He joined the army so that he could fly, even though he knows it will send him to war. His girlfriend Andrea does not want him to go to war, so after college, they break up. However, just before he leaves for his training, she shows up at his door. Andrea starts to work for her father and hopes that she can convince Randy to join her. All through his training, she talks to him about the business, trying to get him interested. She will not talk about the army. Randy's friend from down the street, Faith, is very interested in the army. She listens closely to him and asks many questions. Soon, Randy finds himself torn between his childhood friend and the girl he loves.
The Sweet War Man by Paul Barcelo is a very compelling novel. Very technical about the army, it pulls you into the characters. You feel for Randy who really loves Andrea but can't convince her that he really wants to be in the army. Readers will also feel for Faith, who simply loves Randy and is just like a sister to him. Readers will want to fly through the pages to find out what happens between Randy, Andrea, and Faith. I definitely could not wait to find out what happens to the characters. October 16, 2009
Connie Harris- TCM Reviews, October 16, 2009
Fast Paced & Compelling, June 3, 2009
Reader Views Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (6/09)
This is a book with characters that you will love and hate! The author who is prior military was very detailed with the development of his characters and facts about the military. Being an Army brat and the spouse of a military soldier, I could relate to this book completely.
Randy Thayer is joining the military because he has always wanted to fly; however, his girlfriend Andrea doesn't want him to join and go to Vietnam. She would rather have him work for her father's company. Andrea is very selfish, devious and power hungry. She does not understand the military and a soldier's job, and doesn't want to. She is the character you will love or hate.
Randy's neighbor Faith has always been in love with Randy and stands by him with love and support through all his trials and tribulations. He loves her, but not with the same love he has for Andrea. Faith's character is one whom readers will root for to win the love of Randy.
The reading was fast-paced and once you start reading you won't want to put it down. The author did an excellent job on his first novel, "The Sweet War Man." I would love to see more books by Paul Barcelo.
Feathered Quill Book Reviews
Randolph Thayer, a steadfast Army second lieutenant, is ready to embark upon his training to become a rotary wing pilot in the Vietnam War, even if he is not exactly sure what it is that pulls men into military careers. Andrea Tremblay is an equally steadfast woman who is deeply involved in advancing her position in a family owned company, and quite a determined girlfriend to Randy. She halfheartedly accepts him as a soldier, but definitely does not want him to go to war. In fact, she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Randy home, including getting him involved with her family's company. Meanwhile, Faith Beckwerth, a longtime Thayer family friend, is dropping clues that go mostly unnoticed, clues that she is interested in Randy. Unlike Andrea, she hangs onto Randy's every word, supports his military endeavors, and is always there to listen to his
stories, and ease any of his fears.
The Sweet War Man is a raw military love story with intense characters that takes readers into the challenging trenches of military training, touches down in aggressive corporate America, and wraps it all up in a smattering of love and plenty of lust. The author vividly describes each of the three main characters in such detail that readers become attached to all of them, even perhaps the less savory individual, wondering throughout the story what the ultimate outcome will be for everyone involved. Patriotism, yet uncertainty and confusion, plagues Randy, while a ruthlessly unflagging work ethic is seen in Andrea. Readers cannot help but feel sorry for the winsome Faith, who embodies an innocence
and sincerity that offsets the rough edges in the plot, and makes readers want to root for a happy, amorous ending.
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: March 2010