John A Heldt has done a fantastic job with this story.
Great characters, amazingly interesting plot, excellent mix of emotions, terrific sense of humour. It’s all here.
Frankly I had exactly three complaints about this novel:
- There is no TOC for the eReader to work with. I suggest remembering to use your reader’s bookmark function whenever you have to walk away, I’ve yet to find a reader or app that doesn’t sometimes forget your place on the next load. Better safe than sorry with a book this long.
- The chapter layout was very strange. Mostly it was a lot of very short chapters, but now and then there’d be longer ones with scene breaks. I’d chalk this up to a stylistic thing, but I couldn’t quite fathom a rhyme or reason to when it’d be a three page chapter, or a chapter with three three page scenes. Too, I find lots of little chapters a distraction because when I hit chapter 35, I don’t like discovering I’m only something like a third of the way through the book.
- The story mostly takes place in 1941, and the history is very well researched. Usually, when I thought that an anachronism had cropped up, it turned out it was truth if rather obscure and unexpected. There is one blatant exception and one nitpicking one. The former: he has one character driving a shiny new Plymouth of a model that was not first produced until the year after WW2 ended, yet this story takes place in the half-year leading up to America‘s involvement in that particular chapter of history. The nitpicking? It’s 1941 and he referred to “saddle-shoes” – according to my fashion expert it’s an incorrect usage so common as to beg the question of just how much longer it’ll be incorrect; it’s peeking around the corners of linguistic drift. All-in-all, big deal.
I especially loved the end, it left tears in my eyes. This story, most assuredly, deserves an Awesome!
Don’t believe me? It’s us$2.99 on Amazon. Go. Take a look. You’ve nothing to lose except the cost of a … is that even the cost of a laté anymore or have those hit $5?
UPDATE: It turns out that, despite my very desperately looking for a 1941 Plymouth Deluxe Special, because I’m a HUGE fan of 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s era cars I could not find anything anywhere that said the line existed prior to 1946, but the author has kindly send me information on that very year model of Plymouth. A perfectly stunning car: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1941-plymouth-special-deluxe-convertible.htm
The saddle shoes comment – I will apologise if I give the impression John was not diligent in his historical research. I mean, even the car thing could easily have been a mistake (glad to know it wasn’t, such a pretty thing!) and the saddleshoes is really not a profound difference either. From what I can gather the shoes in question for the characters in question are often, and this is considered incorrect to Fashion People but is common usage for The Rest of Us, called saddleshoes. There’s debate if they were called that in the 1940s or if, indeed, anything was called that back then. My fashion sources do say that the shoes existed before the 50s, though when exactly isn’t given, but Good Girls didn’t wear them till the 50s/60s and that it refers specifically to the types of shoes you’ll see on the Bobby Socksers in a good movie set in the 1950s. John kindly provided the source for his side of things “saddle shoes”, but even trying to confirm it with people who were teens in the era got mixed answers. Lending to a belief that, possibly, it is a regional thing to some extent. History is a slippery subject because truth is such a tricky and confusing thing. Facts, even facts within living memory, are not always perfect. I know someone who bought toys in middle Tennessee in the 1980s from a common department store that all accounts of say was never sold in America. So … please, do not misunderstand me. one fashion reference and one year make of a car should never condemn a historical novel – we all make mistakes, and in Mr Heldt’s case, he didn’t even do that, Goggle merely failed me.