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‘Be Safe I Love You,’ by Cara Hoffman

For those of us never deployed into active duty, it is difficult to fathom the adrenaline-fueled combination of terror and anger that combat instills. We only see the aftermath, when soldiers return home, forever changed, trying to connect with a world where everyone seems flawed and fragile and uncomprehending.

Lauren Casey, the protagonist of Cara Hoffman’s moving new novel, “Be Safe I Love You,” seems relatively unscathed when she first returns home to Watertown, N.Y., for the holidays following a tour of duty in Iraq.

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