Saturday, February 16, 2013
I'll Be Seeing You
I'll Be Seeing You by: Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan
Finished: February 2013
To Be Released on May 28th, 2013
My copy is a galley I received from Harlequin Mira Publishers
This book was easily gobbled up, just as soon as it totally grabbed me on page one! It did not hurt one bit that it is written using the epistolary format which is a favorite of mine. Set during WWII, it is the story of Glory and Rita. Two women who begin writing to each other--brought together through a woman's 4-H project formed to help women connect as pen pals. Each one of them agrees to participate rather grudgingly, but the friendship which follows grows into a deep and supportive relationship as they both wait...and wait..and wait, for news of their men. Glory is a young wife and mom, living in Massachusetts and Rita is a slightly older woman living in Iowa. Glory waits for news of her husband and Rita waits to hear of her son and husband.
Gardening tips, recipes, fear, joy, love, happiness, illness, sadness and relief are shared as both women grow and become changed by the war, all the while, supporting each other through their words written on paper that is sent flying across the country to each other.
This novel is uniquely written by two authors, who I discovered through the afterward comments, have never met in real life. The novel was written by email, one author writing from Glory's perspective and giving us the other characters which surround her, and the other author wrote from Rita's perspective, introducing and developing the cast of characters surrounding her in Iowa. Such a clever way to write a book!
My son is studying the depression and WWII in his 11th grade history class and we had a very nice conversation today about America and what it stood for in the 1940's. He asking me if I thought Hitler would have been brought down without America's involvement, and me asking him if he thought Americans would/could pull together to get the job done now, as they did during that war--the rationing, the sacrifice, the scrap metal and bacon grease collecting, the unification under a common goal and cause and the undying support of our boys overseas? Something I often think about when I read books set in this time period.
They did a wonderful job, researching the times and daily life of a war wife, living and carrying on in the face of adversity and the unknown. I heartily recommend this book and am so glad to have read it.
To quote author Loretta Nyhan: " I'll Be Seeing You is, above else a novel about the triumphant powers of friendship."
I close with this: A poem written by one of the characters, dated 1946 ( I am not naming the character in order to give nothing of importance away)
There was a waiting time,
when the people made sense of God's mess.
A nightmare objective
Fields of the dead
And through it all, two women wrote
on paper with steady hands.
Trusting friendship and humanity they
wrote as the pages
flew across time and space
Little by little
pace by pace
a war bond grew
Something new and green among the
red fields of war
she here, her there
It became a bigger
thing than even all their lives
And a triumph was no good
without the other tragic things come
nothing was real that wasn't written down
She here, her there
they forged a mighty thing
a garden all its own to grow and sing
Soon the letters couldn't be enough
the long dry seasons in between
she here, her there
and in the air a buzz of wonder:
does her hair shine?
It was time.
She here, her there
to be together in the everywhere
A date was made to mark the big event
Families, long known but never seen
gathered like chickens to the fence
here there everywhere
They met at the ocean place of one
where the sunflowers carried the name of the other
and the car couldn't chug up the gravel road fast,
She was out and running as the other slammed
the screen door, flowered dresses,
High heels tossed in tandem.
Nothing else but them.
Family gathered around, no sound
to watch them touch each other's faces and link arms
silent now no words
turning away from all the rest of us
Walking down the path to where the
ocean meets the whale rocks of the sea
Flowers blooming in their wake, they walked,
What miracle is this?
That they didn't notice"