Money Order from 1962
I stumbled across this when I was cleaning out an old lock box to use. I LOVE that because my Grandmother didn’t throw anything away this still survived! I mean who holds on to a money order receipt from 1962!?!?!
I won a copy of this inspirational historical romance when the author, Patty Smith Hall, did an interview on Kaye Dacus’s blog, which you can read here. I was intriuged, of course, by the World War II setting, but also because it features a hero and heroine who are both pilots. Not that I’m airplane-crazy or anything, but most of the love stories set during wars involve a soldier who go off to fight and leave the heroine to “keep the homefires burning” while she worries herself sick. In fact, I, um, kind of wrote one of those stories myself. But a story of love that grows between two pilots? That’s a different take on wartime romance, and the book proved a very enjoyable read.
Maggie Daniels has been flying most of her life for her father’s crop-dusting business, but when war breaks out and her male relatives go off to fight, she joins the WASP, the women’s branch of the Army Air Corps (as the Air Force was called in those days). The female pilots don’t fly in combat, but rather take over training, repairs, and other state-side duties so men can go overseas. Maggie loves flying, but her family and community express mixed feelings about her choosing a career over marriage and children, something she struggles with throughout the book.
Wesley Hicks has seen his share of air combat by the time he’s assigned to lead Maggie’s squadron near her hometown in Georgia. Though he’s leary of her at first, Wesley soon realizes Maggie’s skill and determination…and her beauty and kindness. Wesley fears for Maggie’s safety at an almost irrational level as he falls more and more in love with her, especially as he’s haunted by memories of another lost pilot for which he blames himself. Through all of this inner turmoil, both characters explore what is really at stake in trusting God, loving each other, and holding true to principles of gender equality.
I felt a strong connection to both of these characters and to many of the supporting ones as well. They dealt with real issues of the time, especially the changing roles of women during wartime. Maggie’s “war job” is a natural extension of the passion and skills she already had prior to the war, and it’s a job she knows is dangerous. How far should men go to “protect” women in such positions? Can women knowingly take the same risks as men, for their country and for themselves? These are questions this novel grapples with, and they resonate with what I’ve learned of this time in history. And what good WWII story doesn’t have a scene of the hero and heroine dancing at a USO club? I very much enjoyed the one found in this book.
(Oh, and I’m sorry, but I’m keeping my copy, which was inscribed to me. Our next contest will be in September.)
Congratulations to Magenta Griffith, the winner of a signed copy of Caroline Stevermer’s Magic Below Stairs! Please send your snail mail address to damselsinregress [at] gmail [dot] com so I can send it to you. Thanks.
I’ve always loved photographs. I remember spending hours going through the shoe boxes full of pictures my parents kept in their closet as a kid. I have been through all of the boxes many times and yet I still go back and go through them every so often. I love the memories those pictures hold.
I’ve always been somewhat of a “saver.” I’d save random items that reminded me of a day or an event in my life. I started my first journal in high school and much of that journal is filled with movie stubs, newspaper clippings and other random items. In college I made my first photo album. I still go back and look through it and remember that trip, Because I documented it all, small things I would have eventually forgotten about come back to me every time I look through the album.
That first album wasn’t the best, but as time went on, my scrapbooking skills improved. And now, all my trips are documented. About two years ago I also started what I call my “Memory Book” after I discovered the treasures in my grandmother’s house. It’s less work than the albums and more haphazard. I stick in there anything I want to save. Anything I want to be passed on to future generations. It’s a collection of articles, ticket stubs, subway passes, receipts, and so much more. Some of the items, like the occasional delivery confirmation stub, are things we get and throw away not thinking twice about saving them. I want to save those everyday things so maybe one day 100 years from now someone will look at it and marvel at it just I did with the 1920s money order I found in my grandmother’s house. I want to document the little things (bills, post cards, business cards…). It might not be a big deal, but they tell my story, and one day my memories will be history and I’m leaving a piece of me behind for future generations.
Little by little I’m creating my own piece of history. Tell me, what do you do? What do you want to one day leave behind? What memories/history do you hope to make?
Oops! A busy Friday and I forgot to post the contest. Oh well, here it is!
To be entered in a random drawing for a signed copy of Caroline Stevermer’s Magic Below Stairs, simply post a comment. Tell us what you’re currently reading and what you like or dislike about it so far.
The winner will be announced next week. Good luck!
Young Frederick Lincoln lives in an orphanage where older boys bully him and the director hates him. His only friend is Vardle the cook, who teaches him how to clean fish, sharpen knives, and tie knots. He also teaches him his letters.
Frederick is the type of boy who works hard to master the skills he’s learned. And unknown to him, he’s been befriended by a brownie named Billy Bly, who helps Frederick accomplish tasks and watches out for him. So when a man arrives to hire a footboy from whomever best fits a set of livery, life changes for Frederick. The clothes fit him as though they’ve been made for him. Off he goes to the home of Lord Schofield, a wizard rumored to grind men’s bones to make his bread. Instead Frederick finds good food, a warm bed, and satisfying work. And Billy Bly follows him from the orphanage.
Since brownies tend to cause trouble wherever they go, Lord Schofield isn’t happy that one has attached himself to Frederick. The wizard magically banishes Billy, leaving Frederick sad and lonely. But his work soon occupies him, and even earns him a new position—assistant valet to Lord Schofield. All because Frederick has an uncanny ability to tie a cravat that others can’t duplicate.
The end of the social season rolls around, and the household transfers to the country estate where Frederick learns much about wizards and magic. Because it seems the curse on the house that took eleven wizards to drive out has returned—at least a remnant of it—posing a threat to Lord Schofield. It takes help from Billy Bly and Frederick’s well-developed skills to defeat the remnant once and for all.
Frederick is an endearing eleven-year-old with charming innocence. He has to rely on Bess, a young maid, to teach him how things work in a grand estate, but it’s his own resourcefulness that helps him succeed. Magic Below Stairs is an enjoyable read with a fun character to cheer for. And, yes, Lord Schofield is Thomas from Sorcery and Cecelia fame, the first novel in the historical fantasy series by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede. (And one of my favorites!)
Please join us on Wednesday for our interview with author Caroline Stevermer.