I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before...I don't read war stories...

The Bells of Times Square - Amy Lane

and in particular I try really hard to stay clear of WWII and I'm going to try and quickly to explain why.

 

My father's generation was the one that fought this war. My grandmother who I love, admire and adore beyond measure watched 3 of her sons go off to do their part in this battle. Two of those sons never returned and as much as I love my father the war was something we just never talked about. Our opinions were different is an understatement and my dad much to his frustration didn't go off to war because his mother got a dispensation for him because he was the oldest of 9 and she needed him at home. In a way it was always a bit of a sore spot between them. My dad wanted to 'do his part'. My grandmother felt that she'd already given enough and as any mother would she did what she had to do, to protect her children.

 

But this is just a bit of extra background and not the reason that I frequently don't read stories set in WWII. No that decision was made when the man who was more of a grandfather to me than my real grandfather passed away, he also served in WWII. I was asked to stay with my grandma because she refused to leave her home and stay with family and this is when she told me the story of my uncles. The two that never came home and whom I would never know. One of those uncles being the brother who was nearest and dearest to my father's heart. So upon hearing my uncles stories, I like my grandmother decided that this war had seen enough blood, tears and heartache from my family and that is when I made the decision that I was not going to read stories about WWII because when we're young we can decide anything can't we?

 

I'm much older now and hopefully a little wiser. I still don't read a lot of stories about WWII but the ones I do, I treasure, because they speak not just of the inhumanities that happened but they tell stories of the personal sacrifice that people made to preserve the freedoms and the rights that we the future generations frequently take for granted.

 

Nate and Walter's story may be for all intent and purposes a work of fiction but there is an underlying truth to it. A reality that cannot be denied. Lives were lost, loves were ended before they began. It was not a pretty, romantic time, it was scary, harsh and at moments horrendously brutal and yet, in the middle of it all because people are for the most part strong and resilient and just downright amazing. They carried on, they lived when they could, they laughed and loved when and where they could, they gave of themselves to keep the world a better, safer place however they could.

 

So sometimes when I feel brave enough to take this step back in time, I frequently do so with tears in my eyes and pride in my heart that stories like this in a very abstract way are about people who are related to me that I never got to know and yet, each story makes me feel like maybe I've gotten to see a little glimpse of them and what their world was like through some wonderfully gifted author who is able to take me back to a time and place that I thankfully never had to really endure.

 

I loved reading this story and being reminded of why my world is so much better that I can read a story about 2 men finding love and not fear having anyone know what that story is about but most of all I love that while it's not perfect yet we are so much closer to that day when anyone can find and love that person who makes them complete and not have to fear people finding out. So thank you, grandma for the 9 children who you brought into this world all of whom did their part whether it was on the battle field or here at home, thank you to all who gave and sacrificed to make this a better world to live in and thank you Amy Lane for this beautiful and moving story that pays tribute to a past no one should ever forget.