Tag Archives: WWII

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. 

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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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Release Day: Dante's Gift by Aubrey Wynne

Dante banner for tour

Dante’s Gift

Plato Publishing

Contemporary/Vintage Romance 

Novella

Kathleen James has put her practical side away for once and looks forward to the perfect romantic evening: an intimate dinner with the man of her dreams—and an engagement ring. She is not prepared to hear that he wants to bring his grandmother back from Italy to live with him.

Dominic Lawrence has planned this marriage proposal for six months. Nothing can go wrong—until his Nonna calls. Now he must interrupt the tenderest night of Katie’s life with the news that another woman will be under their roof.

When Antonia’s sister dies, she finds herself longing to be back in the States. An Italian wartime bride from the ‘40s, she knows how precious love can be. Can her own story of an American soldier and a very special collie once again bring two hearts together at Christmas?Dante’s Gift has two settings. The contemporary romance takes place in Chicago but we’ll talk about that in the next letter.

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Double Settings, Double Romance

Dante’s Gift has two settings. The contemporary romance takes place in Chicago but we’ll talk about that in the next letter.

The vintage romance takes place in Benevento, Italy, in the region of Campania. A lovely town close to Naples that has survived a terrible bombing and invasions by the Germans and then the Allies. While I have never visited, my stepfather (a WWII vet) was stationed near there at an airbase in Foggia. With his help, I was able to add authenticity to my story.

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Chicago, Illinois (The Windy City): Kathleen James lives in Lake Pointe Towers. It is the odd, wavy-shaped building on the left. Imagine the view!

Sant'Agata de 'Goti is Italian town of 11,473 inhabitants situated in Campania in the province of Benevento. Caudina located in the Valley, at the foot of Mount Taburno, and the border with the province of Caserta.The historic citadel stands on a outcrop of tufa between Martorano and Riello, Isclero two tributaries of the river, forming a spectacular crossing of the deepest gorges in geology was the epicenter of a violent earthquake, the entire city is spread on the slopes of Mount Maineto (556 m), over the stream Martorano.  The plant is at the center circle and measuring 1 km in length, diameter directed from south to north. Extends around the entire municipality, hilly

Benevento, Italy: home of Antonia Capriotti. The city has not changed a lot over the centuries.

strega

Benevento is now on my bucket list. Things to do: visit the Santa Sofia church, the Arch of Trajan, the Roman amphitheater, drink Strega and espressos, and enjoy some authentic Italian food.

bombed window front

Excerpt:

The pilot with wheat-colored hair put his elbows on the counter and leaned toward her. “I could buy thirty loaves of bread at home for that much lettuce.”

“But you are not home, soldier. You are here, in Benevento, and a sticky bun is 100 lire.” She meant to be rude but his soft brown gaze made her heart race as if she’d just chased Dante across the field. His smile went to his eyes, adding crinkles to the corners, and made her own lips turn up. “The cost of supplies is very expensive these days, as you know.”

“So I’ve heard. Give me five,” he said with a wink. “Maybe I can sweet talk the captain into putting me back into a plane.”

“Save your money, Ken. Your ears obviously ain’t got any better in the last ten minutes,” he answered, rubber-necking over the counter. “Get a load of that landing gear.”

Dante growled again but this time showed sharp, white teeth. “I don’t think he likes you much, Bob.”

“Well I don’t care for him, neither. Give me two of those, and we’ll get out of your hair.”

The men paid for the rolls and walked outside. She headed into the kitchen when that quiet, deep voice stopped her. “I’d like to apologize for my friend. He’s not a bad Joe once you get to know him.”

“I don’t think I care to,” she said without turning around.

“It looks like I may be making regular trips through your town. Do you work here often?” His tone dripped like honey from a ladle and poured over her; she felt her body turn toward him even as her brain told her “no.”

“My family owns it. I am here every day.”

“So your father is Guido?” He had resumed his place at the counter, balanced on his elbows again, inviting her back without a word.

She found herself leaning on the counter from the other side. “How do you know my father?”

“The sign says Guido’s Café.”

She laughed. “Yes, it does. So you are no private eye, eh?”

He whistled then. “You’d make Betty Grable green with envy when you smile. It makes those blue eyes sparkle like a fresh-cut diamond. You should do that more often.”

Her eyes lowered, embarrassed at the compliment and the image of the American pinup girl in a bathing suit. “You should go catch up with your friends.”

“My name is Ken Lawrence,” he said and held out his hand.

“Antonia Capriotti,” she replied and took his hand. A tingle shot down her center and curled her toes. “It is nice to meet you.”

“You’re blushing. Mmm, beautiful and modest. That’s a rare find, you know.” He held firmly onto her hand. “And who is this?”

She looked down at the silent collie. He hadn’t made a noise when this man reached across the counter and touched her. Odd. “Dante, our protector.”

“You need one, with mugs like Bob.” He made a kissing noise in the dog’s direction and slapped the counter. Dante jumped up, feet on the edge and barked. Ken reached over and scratched the dog behind his ears. “Good boy, you look like my old Schotzie.”

“You have a dog?”

“I did. Old man hit fourteen just before I left. Mom sent me his collar when he passed.”

“I’m sorry, they are just like one of the family, si?”

“Yes they are,” he agreed, giving Dante one more pat before he tipped his hat. “I hope to see you again soon, Antonia.”

She hugged the collie as the Yank left, a swagger to his walk. “What do you know that I don’t, hmm? I trust your instincts better than mine. Perhaps we’ll consider more conversation with this Americano if he returns.”

Giveaways:

Enter the rafflecopter for a $10 Amazon gift card or Paypal bucks OR these adorable Thanksgiving wine charms. One click Dante’s Gift, put it on your wishlist, tweet or vote for me on Goodreads.

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Review Rafflecopter $25 gift card & signed copy of Dante’s Gift (includes international)

If you have read any of my stories, get rewarded! Leave a review for Dante’s Gift and/or Merry Christmas Henry (available at major retail sites and Goodreads.) You may also request a complimentary digital copy of my short stories and leave comments for those at Goodreads. Check out the award-winning Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies or To Cast a Cliche on my website. This contest will run until Christmas!

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My question to you: What is your favorite city and why? 

 

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Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby

I am so excited to host this spotlight. As a historical romance author and lover of anything WWII, this time period tickles my fancy. The cover caught my eye first. The blurb convinced me. Enjoy!

Passing Through PerfectPassing through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby

It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been—a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.

When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she’s the one. They fall madly in love; happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn’t matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one.

It’s true Benjamin has little to offer; he’s a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that’s how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn’t leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.

Reviewer Praise

“Passing Through Perfect is not the kind of novel that excels in pat answers, simple characters, and calm progressive events – and this is evident from the first paragraph, which opens with a punch and keeps on emotionally slugging… Southern fiction writing at its best: spiritually infused, warm, and family-oriented…” Midwest Book Review, Diane Donovan’s Shelf

“A heartwarming tale that shows both the good and bad found in mankind… Highly Recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction.” Inspired Kathy, I am a Reader

“Author Bette Lee Crosby’s characters take on heartbreak and oppression with dignity, courage, and a shaken but strong faith in a better tomorrow” Indie Reader

An uplifting story of family, love, kindness and hope, despite some people’s less than commendable behavior and attitudes.” Between the Lines

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Excerpt

“When the heart of a man gets pulled loose he starts dying. I started dying a year ago, and I’m still working on it. I ain’t going all at once; I’m going piece by piece.”

“The sheriff recognized Benjamin. He’d done work for Missus Haledon, and he’d done a good job. He painted their back fence and repaired a broken window in the storage shed. He was blacker than most but known for being polite, unlike the smart-mouthed coloreds who lived on the far side of Bakerstown.”

“As he sat at the kitchen table and drank a glass of sweet tea with his daddy, her ghost slid in alongside of them. It was a sadness neither of them wanted to speak of.”

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BetteAuthor Bette Lee Crosby

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby shares the storytelling charm of her Southern Mama in tales that are both heartrending and heartwarming. She is best known for her creation of characters that readers find unforgettable.

Passing through Perfect is Crosby’s tenth novel and the third book in the Wyattsville Series that began with the USA Today Bestseller Spare Change. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win another twenty literary awards, including the Royal Palm Literary Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal and the 2014 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal.

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/6/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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