Sentimental Journey – Book One
Stranger In Paradise- Book Two
Home Front Series
Author: Barbara Bretton
Genre: Post -World War 2 Romance
Publisher: Free Spirit Press
Before they became The Greatest Generation, they were young men and women in love .
It’s June 1943. From New York to California, families gather to send their sons and husbands, friends and lovers off to war. The attack on Pearl Harbor seems a long time ago as America begins to understand that their boys won’t be home any time soon.
In Forest Hills, New York City, twenty-year-old Catherine Wilson knows all about waiting. She’s been in love with boy-next-door Doug Weaver since childhood, and if the war hadn’t started when it did, she would be married and maybe starting a family, not sitting at the window of her girlhood bedroom, waiting for her life to begin.
But then a telegram from the War Department arrives, shattering her dreams of a life like the one her mother treasures.
Weeks drift into months as she struggles to find her way. An exchange of letters with Johnny Danza, a young soldier in her father’s platoon, starts off as a patriotic gesture, but soon becomes a long-distance friendship that grows more important to her with every day that passes.
The last thing Catherine expects is to open her front door on Christmas Eve to find Johnny lying unconscious on the Wilsons’ welcome mat with a heart filled with new dreams that are hers for the taking.
“This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”
–Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Nancy had been beside herself. It seemed to Catherine that her little sister had been baptized with stardust and blessed by Max Factor. Nancy pored over her stacks of Photoplay and Modern Screen as if they held the secret of life. Nancy believed in love at first sight, that Clark Gable was the most handsome man in the whole world, and that if she only had Betty Grable’s legs, Rita Hayworth’s hair and Lana Turner’s smile, her happiness would be assured.”
“The war made you feel so powerless. Reports about cities with names that lay strange upon your tongue were made by voices on the radio that had become as familiar as that of your local butcher. It took something like this, the simple act of caring for another human being, to remind you that there was still goodness in a world gone mad.”
“Are you telling me that I’m good enough to run a company when there’s a war on, but once peace is declared, I’m just a helpless woman?”
The year is 1953 and London is throwing the party of the century. Even though the ravages of World War II are still visible throughout the kingdom, the world is gathering on the Mall to celebrate the coronation of England’s beautiful young queen.
For almost ten years, journalist Mac Weaver has been far from his New York home. America has changed since the war ended and he wonders if there’s still a place for him in the land of backyard barbecues and a new Ford in every driveway.
However a chance encounter with beautiful English reporter Jane Townsend is about to change his life forever. As the new monarch waves from the window of her fairy-tale glass coach, a homesick Yank and a lonely Brit fall in love.
One week later, Mr. and Mrs. Mac Weaver board the Queen Mary for New York and a guaranteed happily ever after future in the land where dreams come true.
But there are dark shadows on the horizon that threaten Mac and Jane’s happiness and family scandals that just might tear them apart . . .
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Read a sneak peek at http://www.barbarabretton.com/sip.shtml
“It was all there, all the beauty and wonder and sorrow of life, there in the papers and scrapbooks and photographs packed away with wedding dresses and pressed corsages. Somehow the Wilson attic had become the repository of memories for two families and, in a fashion, of a way of life long gone.”
“Open your eyes, Liz thought. Can’t you see the people who used to be? Love wasn’t a modern invention. Before computer chips and microwave ovens and VCRs, men and women had fallen in love and married and somehow managed to make happily-ever-after come true…”
“The fact that he found her beautiful thrilled Jane. She’d never realized what power there was in being a woman. What pleasure there was to be found in the simplest gesture when there was a man close at hand to appreciate it.”
“He wasn’t much good at dealing with sorrow. His wife had seen too much of it for one lifetime. The obvious solution was to make sure sorrow never found either one of them again. Their meeting had been touched by magic. Their marriage would be, as well.”
To complete this review I read both books – A Sentimental Journey, and Stranger in Paradise – a total of 512 pages… and it wasn’t enough, I want more. I was enthralled from the beginning. The world fell to the wayside as I immersed myself in their world of the 1940s through 1990. The tale starts well before my time, but I felt like I was living it with them. I heard what my mother called “the Old Standards” playing on their radios. Her characters were fully fleshed out and inhabited. I was so captivated by Ms. Bretton’s writing that I seemed to be smelling, seeing, feeling, hearing, and living whatever they did. I grieved their losses, breathed a sigh of relief when they came to their senses, fretted for their concerns, despaired over the injustices of the time, and cheered for their accomplishments. I am exhausted to say the least, but would gladly continue if Ms. Bretton could be coerced into writing more of this exceptional story.
About the Author:
A full-fledged Baby Boomer, Barbara Bretton grew up in New York City during the Post-World War II 1950s with the music of the Big Bands as the soundtrack to her childhood. Her father and grandfather served in the navy during the war. Her uncles served in the army. None of them shared their stories.
But her mother, who had enjoyed a brief stint as Rosie the Riveter, brought the era to life with tales of the Home Front that were better than any fairy tale. It wasn’t until much later that Barbara learned the rest of the story about the fiancé who had been lost in the war, sending her mother down a different path that ultimately led to a second chance at love . . . and to the daughter who would one day tell a little part of that story.
There is always one book that’s very special to an author, one book or series that lives deep inside her heart. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY and STRANGER IN PARADISE, books 1 and 2 of the Home Front series, are Barbara’s. She hopes they’ll find a place in your heart too.