Until Then — Gail Kittleson ( + Giveaway)
Today I’m happy to welcome author Gail Kittleson as she shares about her latest novel. Read through to the end to find out how to enter the giveaway for an ebook copy.
We honored World War II vets, living and dead, on June 6, the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. It’s unbearable to think what would have happened if the United States had not joined the Allies… if D-Day had never occurred. Seeing ninety-plus year-olds with tears in their eyes and a tremor in their voices as they recalled their fallen buddies touched us all.
In light of all this, my latest novel, UNTIL THEN, honors one of the many support teams that cared for the wounded and dying. The Eleventh Evacuation Hospital followed the troops across North Africa, through Sicily, up the boot of Italy, northward through France and into Germany. Surgeons and nurses gave their all to save the lives of GIs.
Until Then focuses in on one American nurse, Dorothy Woebbeking from Waterloo, Iowa—that is her Army photo on the cover. She stands for thousands like her who sacrificed four or five years of their lives for the war effort, came home forever changed, yet still devoted to their work and their country.
A regular All-American girl, Dorothy longed to be of service. And she longed for romance and fun. Her attitude of taking life as it came and making the very most of every opportunity impressed me from the first. I love her willingness to take risks, her joie de vivre, and her ability to learn from her mistakes.
At the same time Dorothy served, people in London had been suffering under the Luftwaffe’s bombing for years. In 1943, an additional terrible civilian tragedy added insult to injury. This accident on the stairs of a tube station in a poor London borough gripped me when I learned of it. In addition to losing nearly 175 loved ones, these citizens were ordered to keep the tragedy secret, lest Hitler’s spies think they’d gained the upper hand.
Interweaving these two stories challenged me—that’s an understatement. But one thing about war: it divides nations and separates people from each other, but also has power to draw folks together in unique ways. I hope Dorothy’s story and the saga of a policeman tasked with enforcing the rule of silence in his neighborhood touch readers and increase understanding of the incredible challenges this era faced.
READERS, leave a comment to be entered in her giveaway for an ebook copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Until Then
March 3, 1943
Bethnal Green, London’s East End
Shortly after a quarter past eight, a siren split the air. Marian Williams lifted her sleeping daughter from her bed and darted down the stairs. Her mother and father-in-law, off on air warden duty, had left the front door unlocked.
She hugged her youngest child close. The blackout made the going difficult, but her husband’s instructions echoed in her brain: “Whatever you do, get down inside the station fast as you can.”
She hoped for a spot near the canteen, with access to milk. Uneven light shone over the paved steps. Then she tripped. Her knee hit the concrete, then something bashed her left side. Someone cried out. Another blow scraped her arm on the landing floor. Where was her baby? She attempted to get up, but an even heavier weight slammed her face down. A crushing burden descended, then all went black.
Riding in the backs of Army trucks across North Africa, throughout the Sicily campaign, up the boot of Italy, and northward through France into Germany, Dorothy Woebbeking served as a surgical nurse with the 11th Evacuation Hospital.
During World War II, US Army nurses worked and slept in tents through horrific weather, endured enemy fire, and even the disdain of their own superior officers, who believed women had no place in war. But Dorothy and her comrades persevered, and their skills and upbeat attitude made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers.
Dorothy and Marian’s stories converge on a simple, hand stitched handkerchief.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gail Kittleson
Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband of forty-one years enjoy grandchildren, gardening, traveling and historical research. After instructing college writing and English as a Second Language, Gail wrote a memoir. Then the World War II bug big her . . . relentlessly! Seven novels later, she’s still hopelessly addicted to this riveting era. Her women’s fiction honors Greatest Generation characters who made a difference despite great odds.
Gail’s second love, teaching, has her facilitating workshops and retreats, where she cheers others in their creative efforts.