Fabulous Fiction Firsts #417
May 11, 2011, 9 days after the Osama bin Laden raid, Sara, a single mother living quietly in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, is thrown under media spotlight when Jason, her Navy SEAL son, has gone missing in action on a top-secret mission.
In Lea Carpenter's Eleven Days *, "a powerful and lean, astonishing first novel", a series of flashbacks and letters from Jason, we learn about a young and care-free Sara's love affair with Jason's father - an older career diplomat who was killed; Sara's dream for the Ivy-bound Jason with a career on the Hill in his father's footstep.
The events of 9/11 changed all that. Jason enlisted.
Through his letters home, we sense a strong, compassionate leader who is wise beyond his years and modest about his abilities., and it is these extraordinary qualities that made him a perfect match for the most dangerous assignments.
"(W)ith equal measures of intellect and heartbreak... Lea Carpenter, a dazzling new talent with the kind of strong and distinctive voice that comes along all too rarely, has given us a thrilling and unforgettable story."
"A powerful first novel and inside look into the making of a Navy SEAL and a portrait of the strength and courage of both mother and son."
"Among the smartest of the batch of recent American war novels".
For a insider's look at the making of a SEAL, try Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm.
* = starred review