Why did I love this book?
Set during World War I and inspired by letters of the author’s grandparents, this delightful novel is filled with a fetching cast of characters and borne along by the author’s entertaining sense of humor. The narration reminds us that many folks were suspicious of people with German ancestry during the war, even though they were American citizens and even using the common term “gesundheit,” and that children of German immigrants were drafted to fight against their parents’ former countrymen.
Young Iowa men were trained into soldiering, where there were still rivalries—some about girls back home, some about German sympathies—and sent across to fight the Kaiser’s troops in France. Some didn’t return home, some came back with broken bodies. There is a compelling scene with wounded veterans in a local hospital, at least one scarred on the inside and fighting his own private battle.
This winsome story also carries themes of acceptance, forgiveness, strangers becoming friends, reframing troubles from the past, and reveals a nickname for someone named Shamrock. An engaging story on many levels.