In 1917, the Great War seems far from Logan, Utah. But soon it will change the lives of mechanic and suffragette Clara, Swiss-German immigrant and LDS convert Trudi, Marine Corps volunteer Reed, and Shoshone seeking U.S. citizenship Joseph. This novel weaves real events with compelling fictional characters into a sweeping tale of war, romance, self-discovery, and sacrifice.
"The Boche bombardment continued day and night until we thought we would go mad. Some men sobbed. Others went numb, unseeing, unhearing. One of the explosions buried my squad in a wave of dirt and rocks. Five of us dug our way out, but we could not find the other two. We were cut off from the rear, with no communication, no rations, for three days. We could have been all alone in the world-just us and the Germans trying to kill us. We survived on a few biscuits and pieces of chocolate. Almost nothing to drink. The wounded cried for help day and night, praying for stretcher bearers to carry them away. The smell of festering wounds was terrible. The bearers, when they could get through, braved bullets from both sides and constant shelling, climbed over barbed wire, and waded through mud up to their waists to bring the wounded away. This is the 'Great War.' I fear it will never end."
Reed and his buddies had began attending the agricultural college. Reed was fun-loving, Bert was also adventurous but a devoted "farm boy", Joseph -a little older Native American, and Alonzo a "city boy" against the war raging throughout Europe.
The other students were Clara, Alonzo's free-spirited, determined, obstinate sister, and her more refined friend and Swiss immigrant, Trudi.
The war had a different impact on the various population in America. Wilson was elected on the prefaces' that he would keep America out of the war. However, after repeated attacks on innocent cruise lines by "the enemy" Wilson declared war on Germany as well.
Trudi was involved in aiding Europe by humanitarian efforts by knitting slippers, socks, & Neck scarves. Clara was not the least bit domesticated. Since she could not enlist to fight on the front lines, she decided to enlist as a medical aid through the YMCA. Reed, Bet and others went into officer training. Alonzo felt it a bigger need to remain home and run the factory. Besides, Alonzo felt the war was none of the United States business.
Eventually they went their separate ways. Reed was committed to Clara, although she rejected him for a long time, Clara was concerned for Reed but was determined to do more in the war effort. Her new YMCA friends felt she was doing enough. Bert and Reed were able to stay together for awhile. None of them realized how this time of life would affect them for years to come and change their view in life.
Suffrage was at the very beginning of coming to fruition and Clara was a strong advocate. Reed was for it, too..anything to win Clara's affection. He loved her spunk and spirit. It was at a very unsettled time and it is interesting the paths their individual lives went.
There are parts which are fun, infuriating, heart wrenching, romantic and inspiring, as well.
The many various characters were portrayed so well, each felt real. The scenes were -sometimes painfully - described well. It was easy to imaging being there.
The Book Cover and Title are depicted very well.
^ This book was sent to me as a gift and I am under no obligation to give a positive review. This is my honest review.
I love to read for pure enjoyment without too much analyzing--but lately books like this really make me think about what I would do if I was in that situation-- Would I be able to just go on with life? Would I be one to join in the fight anyway I can? Would I put my life on the line to save another? This book is SO GOOD! I love that it is based on true facts--which just makes me wonder even more what I would do if these things hit close to home again.This one is a MUST-READ!
(4.5 Stars) This story follows a couple of college age friends at the beginnings of the Great War (WWI). The first part of the book really shows the spunky, spit-fire attitude of Clara, her more demure brother, Alonzo, their immigrant friend, Trudi, a cocky flirt, Reed, and a Shoshone friend, Joseph, along with several other characters. I loved seeing what their college experience was like, what they did for fun, and the way life was in Logan, Utah a century ago. With that threat of war looming, things change and the resulting experiences each character had was very enlightening, entertaining, and heartbreaking.
This book takes place in a small town in Northern Utah and it really hit home for me. I attended the very college that these characters did, although it has a different name now; my ancestors and relatives lived and worked in these same areas; In fact, I grew up very near this area and one whole side of my family were Swiss-German immigrants who lived in this very area during this time. I had no idea that there were such prejudices against them. My mother-in-law deals very closely with the Shoshone tribe and again, I had no idea what was going on almost 100 years ago. Books like this are what really make history come alive for me. My great-grandfather fought in this war and I really don't know as much about it and this era as I do WWII. It was easy to cast my relatives into the story and I really did enjoy it.
I love how the view changes from Europe to back home, so the reader gets a sense of what is happening in both places. This story is crafted in a way that really draws a reader in and doesn't let go until the book is completed. This is a great read for anyone wanting to experience history in a great way.
Content: mild religious references, as the characters are LDS (Mormon); moderate war violence (nothing too graphic); mild romance (kissing).
*I received a copy from the publisher. My review is voluntary and all thoughts are my own.*
I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked the way that it told the story from several points of view. The points of view were varied and made the whole war and events of the time just pop off the page for me.
There's Clara, she's a young coed always trying to do things her own way. She loves to work on cars and debate with the boys and she's not thrilled that the boys get to go to war and the girls have to stay home.
There's Reed, his was probably the normal story you think of out of this time period, young man, leaves college to do what needs to be done for his country. Sees the terrible things that men sometimes do to one another, and knows that coming home may be a long shot.
Trudi's story really touched my heart. She remembers being a young girl in Switzerland and her family's extended family is from Germany. Her story brings such a different point of view to this time period. I loved the way she was working so hard to help out with the war effort, but every time she ran into someone new they looked down on her because of her accent. This would have been such a hard time period to be an immigrant.
Joseph's story resonated with me too, in a different way. Joseph was a descendant of Shoshone Indians. He was used to being looked down on as a second class citizen, and yet at the same time, his country asked him to serve. I love that he was willing to do it, I love the tender story of him with his friend and partner Bert. Wow, it's crazy to me that even after the brave men like Joseph came home from fighting for America in the war, they still weren't recognized as American citizens.
This is a great historical fiction novel, I loved reading it, and I loved how much I learned about this whole time period.