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The Smoke of You: A Memoir of Love During & After Deployment (Paperback)
After years of flirting in the baseball dugout of their small South Dakota town, denying to friends and family anything beyond a friendship, Amber-now home from her college study abroad in Mexico-and Blake-newly committed to military service-reunite, and finally confess their true feelings for one another. Later, their love and marriage are tested by Blake's deployment to Iraq during Amber's first pregnancy, and by the changes in Blake after his return and reintegration, his subsequent battle with chronic pain, and the slow-burning challenges of married life.
Through it all, Amber and Blake draw on their deep commitment to each other and to the legacy of family in a discovery of what to let go of and what to hold on to. Clinging to memories of baseball and hunting, family traditions, and to each other, Amber and Blake learn to discard expectations and Midwestern reticence, and to find comfort in silence while also asking the difficult questions they hope will keep their love alive.