Wednesday 22 January 2020

A Discovering Diamonds Review of The Whistle Stop Canteen by Barb Warner Deane reviewed by Mary Chapple

"there was a double pleasure in becoming engrossed in a charmingly told romance and learning something at the same time."

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"After losing her fiancĂ© in WWI, Margaret Parker settled into a quiet, lonely life as the town librarian in North Platte, Nebraska. After the US enters WWII, Margaret volunteers as the historian for the Servicemen’s Canteen organized by the women of North Platte. When Captain Tom Carver strolls into the Canteen, he’s immediately drawn to Maggie and works hard to woo her, via letters, as he heads off to war. While reluctantly falling in love long-distance, Maggie also opens her heart to the teenaged girl she supervises and the townswomen working beside her, while fearing for the lives of the servicemen and women she meets at the Canteen. When Tom springs a surprise on her, and then winds up MIA, Maggie must come to grips with her fear of another loss. Relying on her new family and friends, she must take a chance on love, if she wants to make a life for herself after the war is over. "

I enjoyed this novel because it was something a little different - US based instead of British, for one thing. I had no idea that these 'Whistle Stop Canteens' existed, so there was a double pleasure in becoming engrossed in a charmingly told romance and learning something at the same time.

The characters were all engaging, with scenes of happiness and joy balanced by the tragedies of sadness that occur because of war. I particularly liked reading about 'the folks back home' as opposed to the detail of soldiers in the thick of fighting (which I do not enjoy as much - I prefer the romance of war, not the reality.) 

What I found particularly poignant was the agony of the women waiting for letters to arrive from the men who were away fighting. That never knowing what might be the content of the next letter received...

A satisfying read. Recommended. 

© Mary Chapple
e-version reviewed

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