Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Sweet Love Story from World War II

I love to read novels about things that really happened. I like stories from all eras, but I particularly like to read books that took place during World War II, a time I can remember vaguely. I was a little girl then and I remember the ration books, the factories, the movies about the war, and the victory gardens. Of course, it was not something I thought about much, because I was nine years old when the war ended--too young to care much about those things. But I really enjoy the stories now.

In Nancy Cavin Pitts' book, When You Come Home, we read a real love story about a real couple--Daphne Abston and Raymond Kelley, who lived in Indiana. The story was written by Daphne's daughter, after she found an old scrapbook and learned about her mother's first love during the war years. Originally, it was written by an Indiana newspaperman, then was picked up by Tom Brokaw to be included in his book, The Greatest Generation, published in the late 1990s.

Pitts did a wonderful job of making this book a period piece. She included snippets of life as it was then and she "showed" instead of "told" the story with her imagery and language. A lot of history was included, history that can be documented with dates and places.

This couple fell in love in 1941, married in 1942, and their love story ended in 1944 with Raymond was killed in France at the age of twenty-two. Pitts introduced the couple's many friends, some of whom were mentioned at the end, since these friends were so close. The book does not tell about Daphne's second marriage, only that her last name became Pitts and that her daughter from that marriage wrote the book. It focuses on the war days and the couple's desperate struggle to spend as much time as possible together.

The book emphasizes the couple's love for God and Raymond's desire to become a preacher when his duty for the government was over. But this was not to be. It shows Daphne's emotions as she blamed God and then realized that she had to praise Him for their time together.

I found only a few typos--for example, the "wringing" of the hands was written with the homonym "ringing", and there was the occasional left out punctuation mark or misplaced paragraph, which is common for Kindle books. But it is a book I had to stay with. The plot was compelling, even as it described day-to-day life in a midwest town.

I recommend this book. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, you will like it. If you enjoy romance, you will like it. If you are an avid reader like me, you will have a hard time putting it down. You can buy it from Amazon or download it on your Kindle.

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