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A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner

Hi readers! We all know how much I love World War II. I met another author who shares my passion for this time period. She does a little mix-up between the present and past, as I did with Dante’s Gift. I really think you’ll like this. My review will be coming soon, I’m almost finished. For now, check out Cat’s intriguing article that includes excerpts from the novel. Comment below for a chance to win a copy. Or be spontaneous and just buy it. You won’t be disappointed. 

A Moment Forever Cover LARGE EBOOK copy.jpg

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

Available on :  Amazon

 

Life in a Treasure Box

Hello Aubrey! I am honored to visit your blog to chat with you and your readers about my first WWII-era Romantic Drama, A Moment Forever. Thank you so much for the invitation and I look forward to your visit on my blog at the end of the year!

When considering the subject of my guest post, I reflected on the discovery made by the novel’s modern-day (1992) heroine, Juliana Martel. In the attic of the house her great-uncle bequeathed to her, the contents of his WWII footlocker set investigative wheels in motion.

And that got me thinking about my own treasure boxes and the memories they hold within. I have two because I’m an absolute sentimentalist. The first, which is nothing more than a brown cardboard box contains childhood mementos: my jacks, sixth grade camp report, two diaries, paper dolls, and a few other things that I’m sure meant a great deal to me. The second represents the “adult” Cat: wedding keepsakes, grandparent letters, pressed flowers and the like.

One doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic to have a special “time capsule” of mementos, but I would bet that many reading this are romantics and do have such a box or hope chest (remember those?) We are, after all, lovers of history, especially our own.

Juliana’s grandfather isn’t a romantic, per se, but, like most of the Greatest Generation’s war veterans, he held onto those items that represented not only a defining historical event, but also how that event changed him and how he saw life and the world afterward. And, more importantly, how it altered his religiosity. The passage of decades had relegated the box to a forgotten shelf, but in Louie’s heart—and mind—the horrific memories of the Pacific have come back with a vengeance. Perhaps the re-emergence of the box, gifted into his granddaughter’s hands, will help him through his late-life PTSD.

He reached up into his bedroom closet, moving around a few items and small boxes until he found what he searched for—a worn Florsheim shoebox. Bringing it down, he held it out to her.

“What’s in it?”

He motioned with his hand and she complied, lifting the dusty lid.

Photographs, more than he remembered, lay within among many denominations of beautifully detailed Japanese Yen, occupation money, and various other pieces of ephemera pertaining to his wartime service. Also stashed away were his Marine medals, Presidential Citation, insignia patches, and the small diary he kept hidden throughout the war. A black matchbook lay on top of the contents, its design read, “Strike ’em Dead, Remember Pearl Harbor.”

Staring down into the relatively small container, Louie marveled at how it held the biggest most powerful four years of his life, and there it all sat stuffed into a box that once held brown wingtips. He shook his head in amazement, uncharacteristically feeling melancholy at the thought of it. Fifty long years had passed. Maybe Will had been right—we should never forget, but Will’s wartime experience hit way too close to home. Fighting in Europe and his internment for two years by the Germans had deep significance where he was concerned.

Try as Louie might, though, his own fight in the Pacific couldn’t be buried forever. Over the years, he had never truly forgotten Guadalcanal, New Britain, New Guinea, Peleliu, and Okinawa, but Lillian had helped him to pack the memories away, just as he helped her conceal her own past. Together, side by side, they looked to the future and lived in the joys of the moment, certainly not the horrors of the past. It was only after her death that the horrors came back, creeping in during his sleep. Without her there to rub his back or soothe the occasional tremor, the memories of those five months on Guadalcanal came back every night. That was his first battle and by the time it was over, he was nearly a different man from the one who entered.

Suddenly, with the letter’s introduction, the photographs, and now the box of mementos, it seemed important, something he had to share with Juliana.

 A Moment Forever’s 1942 heroine, Lizzy Renner had a treasure box, too. It hid all the physical evidence of her first—and only—sweetheart, William Martel, Juliana’s great-uncle. For fifty years, this antique glove box held her heart and she feared its opening in 1992 as a seventy year old woman. Like Louie, the war affected her too; the decisions she made and how she lived her life were direct results. There were secrets in that box, but I won’t share them with you. I do so hate spoilers! LOL

She glanced over at the red velvet treasure box where she’d left it sitting. Yes, it was time and if necessary, she would fly to wherever he was with that box, contrite tail between her legs.

She moved back to the coffee table, sat on the sofa before it, and took a deep breath, her heart pounded. The key fit, the lid lifted, and she stared down at the contents, each a precious fragment representing the sweetest and best part of her life. Inside letters and photographs of Will and her rested neatly organized. A long forgotten pocket-sized edition of WB Yeats’ poetry concealed a pressed gardenia on page 25—The Wild Swans of Coole. Trembling hands removed his gold and silver pilot cadet pin, and she promptly affixed it to the collar of her blouse. Tucked below the book were two postcards from her stay at the Hotel Lakeland Terrace, one bearing the swans. 

And then there is the footlocker—the physical, mental, and emotional evidence of the toll the Second World War and one woman had upon William Martel. Perhaps, when the hidden histories re-emerge, Juliana can bring together and heal all three people some forty-seven years after the war ended. 

Below the shelf, where a box labeled “Mom’s China” was stored, stood a beautifully carved claw-footed lowboy. It was deep, looking to be a blanket chest, even a hope chest. Beside it, under the eave, sat a green, military footlocker. Scuffed white lettering was stenciled across the metal top and side: LT. W.G MARTEL.

Juliana went first to the trunk, knelt before it, and carefully lifted the cover with a creak. Taped inside the lid, a collage of black and white snapshots greeted her. There were some of Lizzy, some of an older couple, one of a single older woman and one of a dirty, war-beaten man sitting beside a bombed out ditch wearing a helmet.

Resisting the hurried temptation to remove the items neatly folded within the trunk, she chose to gingerly pick up the corners to glance at the contents one by one: William’s uniform, his leather bomber jacket, flight manuals, pilot log, and patches that resembled the one on the mantle. Hidden at the very bottom of the military locker, beside an envelope marked “POW” and another containing many more snapshots of Lizzy, was the one thing she hoped to find—a stack of letters. There was no hesitancy in her when she dug her hand deep down to pull them from their resting place of over forty years.

Tied with a green ribbon, the stack stood at least four inches in height. The well-worn letter secured firmly at the top of the stack and the few below it were without an envelope. Juliana sat back and crossed her legs before the trunk as she faced the striking image of Lizzy tacked within. After untying the ribbon, she recognized the first light-blue, fifty year-old letter’s handwriting from the one burned in the fireplace and in the dim light of the sunset, began to read.

Tell me about your treasure box? Did you have a hope chest filled with the heirlooms of your grandmothers? When was the last time you took a trip down memory lane with your keepsakes?

I would like to offer a giveaway for one e-book of A Moment Forever. Please comment below to enter.

 

About the Author

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years. She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™.

Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more information please visit Cat Gardiner’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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