New Book Spotlight - Come Marching Home
Synopsis: After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.
When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.
Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.
As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?
The tables were mostly filled with the soldiers, all in plain clothes like Alfonse and Franz, glad to be out of the mud-caked uniforms. They were all talking amongst each other, casting dark glances at the bar, where a riot of giggles erupted. Alfonse and Franz stopped and stared at the cluster of girls that had formed around the one figure in a steel blue tunic, ribbons adorning his chest and his familiar voice cutting above the feminine titters, obviously purposefully loud so that everyone in the pub could hear.
“And so there I stood, facing down three Steppish soldiers with only a pistol in one hand and my trench shovel in the other. My company had been pinned down by the enemy and we couldn’t let them get across enemy lines, so I had my men throw grenades to herd them toward us, smoke them out like pheasant! And that was when I led the charge. I’ll spare you ladies the details, of course, but needless to say, we won the day.”
“Oh, Captain, you must have been so frightened!” one of the girls gasped, touching his arm gently.
“Of course, only a fool would not be frightened,” Klaus told her teasingly. “The key is to not show it. That way you can still inspire courage in the men.”
“Oh, you’re so brave, Captain Klaus,” another girl said.
Alfonse saw red. Everything shut down and he felt himself walking forward before he knew what he was doing. Franz reached out and grabbed his shoulder, calling to him, but he shook his friend off.
“‘Inspire courage’—is that what you did, Captain?” Alfonse spoke loud enough to be heard over the eruption of female giggles. The whole pub fell silent, the girls turning to glare at him, Franz and Hewitt watching tensely, and the soldiers straightening up and looking on with interest, murmurs running through them.
Klaus just sat there, his face darkening, before he smoothed his expression. “Sergeant Major Keller. I didn’t realize this was your village.”
“No, I’m sure you didn’t,” Alfonse said. “You barely remembered any of the men who fought under you. And you’re right, this is my village, this is my local pub, and I’m not going to tolerate you telling fake war stories in here among a bunch of soldiers who know better.”
A louder murmur arose from the occupants. “You want to know how the story really went?” Alfonse demanded, unable to stop. It felt good and he found he didn’t care about any consequences right now. “We routed the enemy, there was mud, blood, and death. The captain didn’t show up until the rest of us men had secured the Steppish soldiers and a boy had lost his life. Never in all my time in the trenches, did I ever see Captain Klaus pick up a shovel. He was too busy sitting on his high horse to be down in the mud with the rest of us.”
“How dare you?” Klaus said, pushing through the women to get to him. “I’m your superior!”
“Last I checked, we’re not on the front anymore,” Alfonse said.
As part of her blog tour celebration, Hazel is generously offering a goodie pack to anyone who purchases the book before the end of October! Goodies include:
-A sticker with art by H.S.J. Williams @h.s.j._williams
-A playlist curated by Hazel
-And if you order the paperback, you will get a signed bookplate
To claim your goodie pack, simply email a copy of your purchase or pre-order receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your address and Hazel will mail it you!
She's also offering a giveaway with a chance to win a signed copy of the book + the goodie pack! To enter, visit her raffle page!
For more information about the book and more places to buy, visit Hazel's social media:
Come Marching Home on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54493656-come-marching-home
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5289626.Hazel_B_West