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Book Review: Virginia’s War – Tierra Texas 1944 (French Letters Trilogy, Volume One) by Jack Woodville London

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By 1944 the small town of Tierra, Texas was used to the war. The young boys played war games, arguing over who would be on the side of the Allies and who would be the Nazis for the day. The nearby air base added some excitement with their frequent air training exercises. And above all, Tierra, like every small town around the world — and as depicted in Jack Woodville London's absorbing Virginia's War — gossiped.

In early 1944 the gossip was all about Virginia Sullivan. In the seven years that she has been the sweetheart of Will Hastings, she has never made him any promises. Not to marry him, not even to wait for him while he was off at medical school. Now Will is a doctor, overseas with the Army, and Virginia is home in Tierra. And pregnant.

Now, Virginia's dad just happens to run the town newspaper. Poppy Sullivan is a big man in town and he usually gets what he wants. He was able to fix his son Bart's medical records so that he was exempt from service. Then he managed to set Bart up in the cushy job of United States Postmaster. When he finds out Virginia is expecting, he solves the problem his own way and never stops to consult his daughter. The very next day he announces in the paper that the couple had eloped the previous Thanksgiving, when Will was home on leave.

Poor Virginia. Now she is trapped in her father's lie that she is a married woman. Her nasty brother, Bart, is hiding all of her mail from Will and she is becoming frantic as the months go by and she hears nothing from him. She doesn't know where he is and she watches the casualty lists carefully for any mention of his name.

Meanwhile, something else in Tierra is unravelling. Some folks in town have been doing rather well for themselves and don't seem to be suffering under the rationing program, as most of their neighbors are. When Government cars start to turn up in town it sure stirs up the talk. Changes are on the way in Tierra, many people will be affected and the town will have something to talk about for years to come.

I really enjoyed this novel about the homefront during World War II and the dynamics of a small town. There are many well-developed characters that together form the social and political nucleus of this community and I was fascinated with the way the author wove their stories together. Tierra felt like a real place to me and I was captivated with the lives of its inhabitants. I will be eagerly awaiting the second installment in this interesting trilogy.

The website for Virginia's War is: www.virepress.com/ and it will be published on February 13, 2009 by Vire Press, ISBN 978-0-9815975-0-8.

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