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Monday, July 2, 2012

Goddess Fish Promotions Tour Stop and Guest Post: Home Fires by Jana Richards


Title: Home Fires
Author: Jana Richards
Format: Ebook
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publish Date: July 4, 2012
Source: Goddess Fish Promotions (follow the rest of the tour dates here)


Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical romance fan.
  • You're a novella fan.

What's the Story?:

Synopsis:  Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War Two, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she’d fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiancé’s mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.

Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he’s a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is – especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg. Anne sees the beauty of his heart. The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?


My Two Cents: 

I've always been fascinated by stories of the women who came over to America and Canada after the World Wars as war brides. I have really only read non-fiction stories about these women so I found this book interesting off the bat. I think it's just so fascinating that these women left everything that they knew behind for the promise of love and a perhaps a better life in the process. Tis a romantic idea, no?

I felt really bad for Anne. She comes to Canada wanting to marry one brother, Anders, only to realize that he's already involved (deeply involved) with another woman. His family still takes her in. Even though Anne landed in a good place with people caring for her, you still have to feel for her. I was rooting for her throughout the book.

This book is very short. Since I found the subject matter so fascinating, I found myself wishing in a lot of places wishing for there to be a little more detail. The part where Erik's mother let's Erik know about the family secret seemed a little too neat. I wanted to know more about how things were between her and her husband with regard to the big, huge family secret. It's not a bad sign when you want the book to be a little longer!

That being said, this was a good romance with an interesting story. It's a great, quick read that historical romance lovers will really enjoy!

Guest Post by Jana Richards:

I'm very excited to welcome Jana Richards here to ABA today to talk about War Brides from the WWII era, a very cool subject.




“Home Fires” is set just after the end of World War II, in late 1945. My heroine, Anne Wakefield, arrives in Canada to marry her Canadian fiancé, a handsome pilot she met in London. That marriage doesn’t take place, but she still finds love in her new country. Anne is part of a huge influx of young war brides arriving in Canada after the war. Unlike Anne, most of these women were already married to their Canadian soldier-husbands before they arrived, and many of them already had children. They took a leap of faith, holding on to the hope that love would see them through.

These women were leaving everything familiar to them and coming to a strange new world where nothing was familiar, sometimes not even the same English language. In the book “Brass Buttons and Silver Horseshoes: Stories From Canada’s British War Brides” by Linda Granfield, one bride told the story about speaking to one of her new neighbors in Canada and saying to her that her husband must make a good screw. She didn’t understand when the woman suddenly became distant towards her, because at that time in England, the term “makes a good screw” meant that someone made a good living or had a good job. Obviously, the term has a totally different meaning in North America! The language barrier between Brits and Canadians was so profound that a book produced by the Canadian government called “Welcome to War Brides”, included a glossary of terms translating common English words and phrases into Canadianisms. For instance, the English term ‘napkins’ (baby’s) was translated to ‘diapers’, ‘ladder’ (in stocking) to ‘run’, and ‘torch’ to ‘flashlight’.

Food was another place where things could go terribly wrong. The same handbook offered the war bride advice on cooking for her new Canadian husband. After six years of rationing and being engaged in war work, many young women didn’t have much in the way of cooking skills. Even if they did have experience, the cooking equipment in their new homes was sometimes unfamiliar. Since many war brides came from cities or towns, they were used to cooking with gas or electricity. In my book, Anne struggles to learn to bake bread, a fundamental skill for any farm wife. But she found that regulating the heat in the old cast iron wood stove to be nearly impossible, and she burns her first few batches. I took that story directly from a story told by a war bride who offered either burnt or half-raw meals to her husband for many months before she finally figured out how to use the wood stove.

One of the greatest difficulties for many war brides was adjusting to their husbands’ homes. In the 1940s, the majority of Canadians lived on farms and small rural villages. When Anne arrives on her fiancé’s family farm in Saskatchewan, there is no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no telephone. Like many war brides, she’s used to modern conveniences, even during wartime. The primitive conditions come as something of a shock, even if husbands had warned them what to expect. In the book “Risking it all for Love”, the war bride author had grown up in an affluent family. She was used to tea in china cups, frequent bubble baths, and sending her laundry out to be done. When she arrives on her husband’s farm in Saskatchewan, she had to do her own laundry for the first time. Long, hot bubble baths were a thing of the past. Having a bath involved hauling in water from a well, heating it on the wood stove, and then draining the tub and hauling it away. No wonder several members of the family bathed in the same water, and that ‘bath night’ was generally once a week!

I believe stories of World War II are popular with readers because they are about ordinary people who
are called to do extraordinary things by extraordinary events. Most answered that call with energy, bravery, and a sense of duty. I often wonder if I would be as brave if faced with such circumstances
today.

The Second World War affected people all over the world in a myriad of ways. There are still many stories to be told, whether they be quiet, domestic stories about the aftermath of the war in Canada, as in “Home Fires”, or tales of the heroism and sacrifices in the French Resistance, such as in my novella “Flawless”. I hope these human stories of the enduring power of love during wartime fascinate readers as much as they do me.


Thank you, Jana! And remember: Jana will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

26 comments:

  1. At first, I wasn't hooked in, but after reading the author interview, the book sounds fascinating. I want to read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a good one! The history is so interesting!

      Delete
  2. First of all, thanks for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the novella. To be honest, I too would have loved to expand on Anne and Erik's story, but the requirements of the "Love Letters" series from The Wild Rose Press set the length at 25,000 words. And I so wanted to tell their story! I've had their story in mind for a very long time.

    Kim, I'm glad I've interested you in the book. Check out my Appearances page on my website for a couple of blogs where I'll be appearing and giving away a copy of "Home Fires".

    I'll be away from my computer until later today as I'm helping my daughter move. I'd love to hear from readers and hear whether they enjoy reading stories from the World War Two era.

    Jana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, I didn't realize you had a word limit. It all makes sense now!

      Delete
  3. It's a fascinating dilemma. Leaving everything behind for what amount to a different world! Congrats, on Home Fires, Jana. I can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Karyn! Rural Canada, and especially rural Saskatchewan, was a totally different world from Britain in the 1940s. Aside from the lack of electricity, indoor plumbing and telephones, Saskatchewan was a multi-ethnic community, even back then. People came from all over Europe and beyond for the free land. A girl from London would not have been used to meeting people of different cultures in those days, and it would have been especially difficult if she married into a family where English wasn't spoken by the older generatin.

      I have your book "Backlash" on my ereader. Now all I need is some time to read!

      Jana

      Delete
    2. Yes! I don't know if I would have been brave enough but love can make you so strong!

      Delete
    3. I can't imagine leaving my family and my country. But the lure of love is very strong and can make you do amazing things! Thanks for having me here today.

      Jana

      Delete
  4. It's really interesting hearing about all the different terminology of the era!

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find research into the World War Two era fascinating. I hope you follow some of my other blogs on this tour. I'll be talking more about the history of the war brides.

      Thanks for commenting. You've been officially entered in the draw for the $25 Amazon gift certificate.

      Cheers,
      Jana

      Delete
  5. I really love stories about WWII. This one sounds really good. Where is it available?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can download it from The Wild Rose Press:
      http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4902

      But remember, it's not out until July 4 :)

      Delete
    2. Hi MomJane,
      Thanks for commenting. I love stories about World War Two as well. I hope you like this one!

      Your name is going into my draw for a$25 Amazon GC. Good luck!
      Jana

      Delete
  6. Hi Jana,
    I have a thing for war brides too. I will get a copy of Home Fires.
    Georgina Sellwood

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Georgina,
    Thanks so much for stopping by! I find the story of war brides truly fascinating. They were amazing women.

    All the best,
    Jana

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jana...As a librarian, I'm always interested in authors' research processes. I'm assuming most of your research was done in books and on the Internet. Did you do any interviews with War Brides?
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. No, unfortunately no personal interviews. I wish I had. But I read dozens and dozens of stories written by war brides themselves. A few were video or audio taped. By the time I finished, I felt a real connection to these women.

    Sadly, a lot of war brides, like World War Two veterans, are passing on. But I think that interest in their stories will endure.

    Thanks for commenting Catherine.
    Jana

    ReplyDelete
  10. I grew up hearing post WWII stories. A fascinating period. HOME FIRES is one for me.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's still such a fascinating period to me!

      Delete
  11. well this book draws you to it by the cover and then i would love to read and blog on iti like reading history and alll

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like the cover. She looks very much how I envisioned my heroine Anne to look.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Jana

      Delete
  12. If you'd like to earn extra chances to win the $25 Amazon gift certificate, please go to my website to find out how. And as a special offer, I'm giving away a PDF copy of my contemporary romantic comedy "Rescue Me". For details and to read an excerpt, please click here.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The war bride stories are facinating
    reading. I think it took stong
    courage for the women to make the
    trip to a stange land and meeting
    unknown partners. Marriage is a
    gamble even when you know the other
    person well before hand. A lot of
    good came out of these events.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took a lot of strength of character for those brides to do what they did. And you're right; at least something good came from the war.

      Thanks for following,
      Jana

      Delete

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