Original review from Little Book OwlI will admit that I have never read a book based around politics and war. I was surprisingly pleased with it, though, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The beginning was just a little slow for me. I am completely clueless and politics and all that, even more so considering it is American politics, so I was confused with all of the technical and political parts explored towards the beginning.Esther was an interesting character to follow. I loved her wit and humour. Whenever Esther engaged in conversation with others, she managed to pitch in and provide some funny one-liners. I also really admired her boldness, bravery and determination. When it came to the war aspects, Esther's mind was set on survival. She was determined to get home and did whatever it took to get there. Not once did she consider giving up. On the other hand, when the love interest was introduced, Esther took the initiative to make a move herself. I loved seeing the roles reversed with their relationship, and it was done in such a way that the male was not deemed as any less of a "man", so to speak. She was bold and did not hesitate to take chances. I loved the relationship between the two characters. Although I felt it was a little rushed, I understand that the story occurred over a long period of time, and it skipped forward a few months every so often.The people Esther met and befriended on her journey home added so much depth to the story, and unfortunately more tragedy and pain for Esther. She grew so close with a select few, and the war ripped them away from her. This was bitter sweet - Payne crafted lovable and humorous characters, and just as you grew attached to them (alongside Esther), a sudden turn of events would take them away. The action in this book was quite graphic and gruesome. This was shocking and confronting, but I did not have any issues with it, in all honesty I liked how Jeffrey Payne did not attempt to hide the harsh nature of war. It assisted with the realism and visual impact of the novel, but for those of you who may have an issue with this, be wary of the fact that it gets a little bloody. I would not recommend this book for younger readers, because of this factor. It is set during a civil war, and the conflicts Esther faces are described in a little bit of detail. I loved how the book ended. It wrapped up quite nicely, yet still leaves you wanting to know what happens next, and how things turn out with the love interest. The second book, The Mail Still Runs is released next year, and I am really looking forward to continuing on with the story!Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.