GOLDEN REVIEW Book! “The First Christmas of the War” by Alan Simon

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Labor Day, 2012 is behind us now, and the slow march towards the upcoming holiday season has begun. Get a head start on holiday spirit by taking a trip back in time:

‘ Twas the week of Christmas,
Nineteen forty-one;
The season’s joy overshadowed
by the war just begun.

The Great Depression years finally behind them, the entire Coleman family of Pittsburgh has been looking forward to this Christmas for almost the entire year. For the first time in more than a decade, Gerald and Irene Coleman have tucked away enough extra money to make up for all the lean years of disappointingly modest Christmas gifts for their children. But December 7, 1941 has changed everything, and for the past two weeks the entire family has followed with despair the Japanese advances all over the Pacific as well as America finally being dragged into the two-year old European war. Though a few glimmers of hope can be found amidst the ominous war news, both parents fear not only for the country’s fate as this new war begins but also, more personally, for the fate of their sons who will likely soon be joining the fighting in one war theater or another.

Still, despite the sense of dread hanging over almost every aspect of the family’s daily affairs, Irene Coleman is determined that if indeed this will be the last Christmas that the family spends together––at least until after the war, or perhaps even forever––then she will do everything in her power to make Christmas, 1941, the first Christmas of the war, a happy one for her children and her entire family.

Come spend the week leading up to Christmas, 1941 with the Coleman family including:

Jonathan––The eldest son at nineteen, Jonathan fatalistically realizes the inevitability of his military days arriving very soon, whether he succumbs to the pressure to enlist or if he waits until he is drafted. But Jonathan has other problems on his mind as well. His long-time girlfriend Francine Donner, whom only days from now he plans to ask to marry him, broke a date with him this past weekend to go out with one of Jonathan’s best friends from high school (and one of her own former boyfriends), because he is headed off to boot camp right after Christmas. Jonathan has ominous feelings about this turn of events…and he’s right.

Charlene––The third child in the family and the oldest daughter, Charlene has just become secretly engaged at the age of sixteen to her boyfriend who is soon headed to boot camp. She shares the news of her engagement with her cousin Lorraine Walker, but Lorraine quickly breaks her promise to keep the news secret. When Irene Coleman learns of her daughter’s engagement and the circumstances surrounding it, she has yet another problem to confront.

Irene––In many ways, the backbone of the family…the classic 1930s-1940s matriarch who runs her household her way, no questions asked. Like her husband, Irene is mortified by the ominous war news and does her best to occupy the hours of her day with an endless string of tasks and chores, trying to keep her mind off her own fears for her sons’ safety.

…and the others.

December 20-26, 1941:
The First Christmas of the War

And watch for the publication of the next tale in the Coleman Family Saga – THANKSGIVING, 1942 – this holiday season.

 

This reviewer would recommend it!

 

Not expecting a whole lot, I started reading and couldn’t stop. I looked forward to each chance to get back to the book on my kindle, laptop or droid. My bottom line is that I miss the family and want to read more about them. Powerful images of Christmas time in a 1940’s city; terrific characters; almost A Christmas Story without the humor at times. I can’t wait for the author’s next book in this series.  – In My Opinion…

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