(PRWEB) July 17, 2010
Canadians are very fortunate – they see the horrors of war only through a long-distance prism. They have never had to endure the terror of having a war fought on their own soil. Canada's brave soldiers die in war, of course, but they die today on the killing fields of Afghanistan, just as they did in the Second World War on the beaches of Normandy. Canadians have never had to endure the abject pain, grief and emotional turbulence that comes when their nation – and its citizens – are under assault from a foreign aggressor.
Not so for the British. Their nation was under German attack throughout the Second World War. The Nazi air-raid bombings were very real, with ordinary citizens, not just soldiers, dying under the rubble of bombed-out churches, homes, schools and factories. The fear that families felt was palpable; everyone – fathers, mothers and children – knew that their lives were hanging by a string, but they still had to live each day as it came. They went to their jobs, they shopped for groceries, they did their laundry and they socialized with their friends – even as they lived under a deadly threat from the skies that might become reality at any given moment. And for many families, there existed a double jeopardy – the family members remaining home in England had to fear not only for their own lives, but also those of other friends and family members who had gone off to war to battle and conquer the Nazi regime.
Marian Brown knows that kind of life. She is an author, now living with her husband and family in a rural community in southern Ontario, following the family's emigration from England in 1953. She is also a veteran of the Second World War and has a first-hand understanding of what war can bring to a nation and its people. Her newly released book, Eight Hawthorn Lane, deals with the complex emotional issues of life during wartime, issues that can either bring families closer together or tear them destructively apart.
Eight Hawthorn Lane tells the story – fictional, but based in fact – of Val and Mary Blackstone and their sons Michael and Simon. They live in Burnbriar, Scotland, but Mary packs up her life and moves herself and the boys to Aldershot in Hampshire, where the family can be closer to Val, a company sergeant major, who is stationed at a nearby army camp. The book's essential storyline deals with the period through the war and leading up to Val's pending army discharge; it tells the tale of how a family manages to cope and hold itself together under the most trying of wartime conditions.
There are no great "revelations" in Eight Hawthorn Lane, no surprise mysteries and 180-degree plot twists. Instead, author Brown puts forward a compelling, yet understated, daily narrative of wartime life – the making of a family breakfast, an evening spent quietly at home, the planning for moving day upon Val's discharge. The story of the Blackstone family is, in many ways, the story of all of us – that life goes on while we are busy making other plans.
But in this case, in Eight Hawthorn Lane, the Second World War is the compelling major character around which all else revolves. The war is the all-encompassing backdrop, the uninvited, unwanted guest in the Blackstone family's life. The war colours everything – and author Brown has done a remarkable job of painting a vivid picture of how the horrors of the wartime years can affect the lives of not only those on the battle front, but also those left to hope and pray at home.
Eight Hawthorn Lane
by Marian Brown
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