A diverse collection of WWII stories loosely connected by taking place in the same year as the Pearl Harbour attack. Some were more personally resonant, but all reflected the futility and far reaching consequences of the war and the diverse people it touched, bringing them good luck or bad but leaving none untouched. A number serve as introductions to series by the individual authors and several characters and settings will be revisited. I thought each was interesting in it’s own right and definitely encourages further reading of these authors.
“Deadly Liberty” by R.V.Doon was a solid opener for this collection. It introduces the reader to Navy nurse Connie “Coco” Collins onboard the USS SOLACE, a hospital ship in the Pacific fleet. The story centres around events on the evening before the attack on the harbour. It establishes Coco’s inquisitive mind, her moral code and as a result I found her a deeply likeable character. The island and naval life prove a delicious backdrop in what I am presuming is the prequel in this historical WWII mystery series. Here a AWOL nurse, a missing baby and an assassination in the midst of the Pearl harbour attack, ,combine into a tantalising taster.
Looking forward to meeting “Coco” again in. A Murderous Disguise.
The List by Vanessa Couchman
A wonderful story of a woman persecuted for her relatively humble origins thrust into the nobility through marriage , aiding a Jewish fugitive who is hunted in reprisal for a resistance assassination. Tense and evocative it brought to mind the work my personal Historical hero Nicholas Winton. Wonderful.
Christmas Eve in the City of Dreams. By Alexa Kang
Chancer and Rogue Jesse spends his last few hours in NYC prior to leaving after being drafted, drifting from person to person making arrangements and tying up loose ends, some cynical and jaded, others touching and heartfelt. Not your usual hero, but intriguing none the less.
Allies after All by Dianne Ascroft is a tale of the classic jealousies roused by the American’s joining the war effort. A young man in Northern Ireland spends the first portion getting his nose put out of joint by a US engineer there to build the airbases that will house all the Airmen who will “oversexed, over rated and over here” and the second half learning not to be so hasty in his judgement.
“Time To Go “ by Margaret Tanner
Is the kind of love story that fans of the stories of soulmates and star crossed lovers love will adore. It was a tad too short for my personal taste but very sweet and tender The connection to the Pearl Harbour attack is enough to bind it to the other stories in the collection but it would exist equally well in relation to any tragic loss of life and still have the same impact
Turning point by Marian Kummerow
This resonated more strongly with me as the Granddaughter of a man persecuted by the Nazis and who like Margarete managed to escape through a combination of luck and cunning. The tension is kept taut until almost the end of the story, but that slackening of the grip of the story in no way detracts from the reminder that people were cattle to the Nazis rather than human beings with lives and worth before cleansing began. I liked this one very much.
“I am an American” by Robyn Hobusch Echols
My only real reference to Japanese Americans is that of Mr Miyagi in The Karate Kid films, but this is even more piquant as I view it through the lenses of what seems to be happening in the USA this very week as Trump takes office on an anti Muslim platform. These immigrants like many others moved to the USA for freedoms not afforded in Japanandvyet were treated abominably because they happened to be of a certain appearance..
A Rude Awakening by Robert Kingsley
A Real Boy’s Own adventure this one, planes, trucks, exotic shores and the scream of the planes as the Japanese planes draw in, a brilliant book end to the collection as it begins and ends with invasion.