Tag Archives: WWII

Book Review + Giveaway!: The Plum Blooms in Winter

12 Nov

A Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge

In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.

A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission

Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal.

In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ’s forgiveness. Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother’s life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him — even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka’s treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends — only to confront a decision that will change everything.

Linda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves — stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is an A.C.F.W. Genesis contest winner and a finalist for FOUR 2019 awards: a Carol Award, the Independent Book Award in two categories, and a Cascade Award. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, two mostly-grown-up kids, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing, you’ll find her rollerblading — yes, that does make her a throwback — taking in a majestic desert moonrise, or dreaming of an upcoming trip. She and her husband recently returned from tours of Israel, Jordan, and Wales.

My Impressions:

A debut novel? Really? The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson is unbelievably a first effort. With a unique subject matter for CF, the bold voices of its characters, and complex plotting, this novel grabbed me from the first pages and refused to let me go. I read this book at a furious pace determined to find out what would happen to the characters. And I am glad I did. However, this one really deserves a slower go with time for reflection and perhaps some Google searches 😉 . It is also a great choice for book clubs — I really, really wanted to discuss this book! It gets the very rare very highly recommended rating!

The Plum Blooms in Winter is set during and after WWII in both Japan and China. It tells the story of the consequences of war from both sides of the conflict — an American airman held as a POW and a young Japanese woman striving just to survive. Much of the story is told from the perspective of  bitter spirits seeking vengeance, that is until God shows up. Never preachy, it tells the story of a God who lovingly pursues to bring meaning and worth to people in spite of themselves.  I loved the historical points that somehow I missed in long-ago history classes. The time and place are vividly portrayed by Thompson. The barbarism of the war and the extreme deprivation of a defeated nation are not glossed over, making the reader really feel what the characters feel. It was interesting to have empathy for both main characters. Main characters Matsuura Miyako and Lt. David Delham are deeply flawed and deeply wounded, and touched my heart in ways that are hard to express. I loved them both and hoped for their ultimate rescue and redemption. The novel was inspired by real events, but the author is quick to say that the story is pure fiction. From this, I found the perspective realistic and the message relevant.

I definitely would recommend this book to anyone, regardless of their preferred genre. But if you like WWII novels, The Plum Blooms in Winter should be in your library. It is a must-read! More books are planned in this series — cannot wait!

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to the publisher for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Giveaway!

Linda Thompson is giving away a fabulous prize package. To enter click HERE.

 

THE GRAND PRIZE MOVIE BONANZA

The Grand Prize will include:

A signed copy of my award-winning novel inspired by the Doolittle Raid, The Plum Blooms in Winter

PLUS FOUR awesome WWII DVDs:

Pearl Harbor
Unbroken: Path to Redemption
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
And, The NEW Midway Movie!! (This one will ship separately when it releases on DVD.)

And there’s a second prize.

The NEW Midway Movie!! (Ships when it releases on DVD.)

Guest Post — Sarah Sundin, Author of Sunrise at Normandy Series

4 Nov

I discovered Sarah Sundin early in my blogging career. Her first novel, A Distant Melody, was released in March 2010, and I was offered the opportunity to review it. (You can read my review HERE — don’t judge! 😉 ). I was immediately hooked! Sarah is a must-read author for me. Her books have also become favorites of my book club. We just cannot wait for the next book to be released. Sarah has a wonderful website where she shares her writing adventures. Be sure to check it out. Also make sure to check out the link to the 10 Year Blogivesary Giveaway at the bottom of this post.

Today, Sarah is sharing about her research travels for the Sunrise at Normandy series. Thanks so much, Sarah!

Guest Post — Sarah Sundin

Touring England and Normandy . . . I call it, tongue in cheek, “suffering for my art.”

Whenever possible, I visit the settings for my novels. Each novel in my Sunrise at Normandy series has scenes in England and culminates on D-day, so I was able to lump research for all three books in one trip. My husband was a trouper and let me hijack most of his vacation for research.

Sarah Sundin at Big Ben in London, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

We started in London, which is the main setting for the first novel, The Sea Before Us, and is featured in the other two novels as well. Of course, we saw the big London attractions — because my characters visit these sites too — and because we had to see them! But we also strolled through the Kensington area to find the house where my heroine Dorothy Fairfax “lives,” found the building on Grosvenor Square where the US Western Naval Task Force had its headquarters in the lead-up to D-day, and saw Norfolk House on St. James’s Square, which served as Allied Naval Headquarters.

For The Sea Before Us, we also took a tour of Southwick House near Portsmouth, which served as Battle Headquarters for the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force, where Gen. Dwight Eisenhower made his famous final decision to carry out the invasion — and where Dorothy Fairfax serves on D-day as a Wren (Women’s Royal Naval Service), monitoring the action on the far shore.

In The Sky Above Us, the hero serves on D-day as a fighter pilot, so we visited the Duxford Air Museum to see the workings of a real airfield in Britain. Plus, we saw several

US P-51 Mustang, Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

P-51 Mustangs, the plane my hero Adler Paxton flies.

To travel to Normandy, we took the ferry from Portsmouth across the English Channel to Ouistreham, France. Since Wyatt Paxton, the hero of The Sea Before Us, serves as a naval officer on an American destroyer on D-day, I loved approaching Normandy from the sea and imagining what all those soldiers and sailors must have been thinking as that same shoreline came into view on June 6, 1944.

In Normandy, we toured the German gun batteries at Longues-sur-Mer, walked along Omaha and Utah Beaches on gray and blustery days, and lingered in the American cemetery, an incredibly moving experience.

Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

In The Land Beneath Us, the final book in the series (coming February 2020), the hero, Clay Paxton, serves in the US 2nd Ranger Battalion, legendary for scaling the 100-foot cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on D-day. We spent another gray and blustery day visiting Pointe du Hoc, pockmarked with giant craters from naval shells and littered with chunks of concrete. We also hiked through the infamous “bocage” (hedgerows) and saw where the Rangers found the German guns and destroyed them.

I had the time of my life! And my husband . . . ? As we were traipsing through a muddy gun emplacement on a gray and blustery day (did I mention it was gray and blustery?), my husband was thoroughly enjoying the adventure and history. I said to him, “Aren’t you glad I don’t write novels set in pretty little English tearooms?”

The look of horror on his face . . . Sadly, I did not get a picture of that.

 

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sea Before Us, The Sky Above Us, and The Land Beneath Us (coming February 2020). Her novel The Sea Before Us received the 2019 FHL Reader’s Choice Award, When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California. Please visit her at www.sarahsundin.com

 

One fateful night of tragedy and betrayal drove the Paxton brothers apart. Now, as D-day approaches, they battle the Nazis on the sea, in the air, and on the ground. Three women capture their hearts — a British naval officer striving for acceptance, a Red Cross volunteer searching for purpose, and a librarian longing for family. Will the battles they face lead them to redemption . . . or destruction?

 

10 Year Blogivesary Giveaway!

Be sure to enter HERE.

Book Review + Giveaway! — The Medallion

24 Jun

About The Book

Book: The Medallion

Author: Cathy Gohlke

Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)

Release date: June 4, 2019

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen — Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war — if any of them survive — is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About The Author

Cathy GolkeThree-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

More from Cathy

Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy.

The Medallion was inspired by two true stories — the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology.

The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within Żegota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one?

Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.

 

My Impressions:

Cathy Gohlke is a new-to-me author. I have seen her books all over the web, but hadn’t had a chance to read any until her latest WWII-era novel, The Medallion, was released. I am now a big fan of this talented author and cannot wait to dig into more of her books. The Medallion is a challenging read — it is filled with heartbreak and despair, yet has an underlying message of hope and love in the midst of the cruelest of situations. And though many of its images were hard to take, I just could not put down this riveting novel. Told with sensitivity and grace, The Medallion is one of the best novels I have read all year. It definitely earns a very highly recommended rating.

Set from the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland through the harrowing war years and the rebuilding following the demise of the Nazi regime, The Medallion focuses on the heroism of ordinary people determined to do whatever they can to save lives, especially those of the children of Warsaw’s ghetto. There are two parallel stories — Itzhak and Rosa, a young Jewish couple with an infant who are forced into the ghetto, and Sophie, a British woman married to a Polish pilot who resolves not to play it safe, but to work against the enemy. The two stories intersect and intertwine midway through the book. The abrupt devastation that the invasion brought to both Poles and Jews is vividly described. Even though I have read many books set in this time period, Gohlke communicated it in a way I have never experienced. Sacrifice, danger, daring, and bravery are exhibited throughout the book, even in the midst of circumstances that were truly hopeless. The characters are both ordinary and extraordinary — they faced fears and doubts, yet drew from a deep well of tenacity, perseverance, and faith. I loved how the author drew upon real life events and historical figures to bring a greater depth to the reading experience. The message of God’s sovereignty is powerfully portrayed, yet the book is never preachy. Many lived out their convictions in the face of great danger and often certain death. I especially loved how God’s orchestration of events is shown in spite of man’s attempts to manipulate them.

I could go on and on about this many layered story. But instead I will just say, read this book! The Medallion is one that will stay with you for a very long time. I promise you will want to talk about it, so just go ahead and get your book club or group of friends reading it too. You (and them) will not be sorry!

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for book clubs.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)

 

Blog Stops

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 22

Christian Bookaholic, June 22

Carla Loves To Read, June 22

The Power of Words, June 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 23

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 24

By The Book, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Retrospective Spines, June 25

Inklings and notions, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

Lis Loves Reading , June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Connect in Fiction, June 27

Bigreadersite, June 28

Maureen’s Musings, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 28

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 29

Spoken from the Heart, June 29

Inspired by fiction, June 30

Have A Wonderful Day, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Inspiration Clothesline, July 1

Connie’s History Classroom, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Just the Write Escape, July 2

Seasons of Opportunities, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

As He Leads is Joy, July 3

To Everything A Season, July 3

Hallie Reads, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 4

For The Love of Books, July 4

Emily Yager, July 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Texas Book-aholic, July 5

 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

 https://promosimple.com/ps/e50c/the-medallion-celebration-tour-giveaway

First Line Friday — My Dearest Dietrich

21 Jun

Happy Friday! I am so excited to share the first line from Amanda Barratts historical novel, My Dearest Dietrich, which explores the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the woman who loved him. When I first heard about this novel, I thought it would make a great book club pick. The members of my group thought so too! We are discussing it next month. If you have read it, I would love to share your thoughts with them. Leave a comment with your thoughts and/or your first line! Thanks!

Be sure to head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!

 

 

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison

Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.

Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.

Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.

With their deep love comes risk – and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.

Based on detailed historical research, this true love story is at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

 

ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story – -a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical novels and novellas, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. Her novel My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love, releases from Kregel Publications in June 2019.

She’s also the author of My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey, as well as seven novellas with Barbour Publishing. Two of her novellas have been finalists in the FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at amandabarrat.net.

Happy Book Birthday! — My Dearest Dietrich

9 Jun

Happy Book Birthday to Amanda Barratt and her new book, My Dearest Dietrich. For months I have been impatiently awaiting this book’s release, and now it’s here! My book club is reading it next month, and I cannot wait to discuss it with them. See below for all the details.

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison

Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.

Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.

Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.

With their deep love comes risk–and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.

Based on detailed historical research, this true love story is at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

 

ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story – -a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical novels and novellas, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. Her novel My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love, releases from Kregel Publications in June 2019.

She’s also the author of My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey, as well as seven novellas with Barbour Publishing. Two of her novellas have been finalists in the FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her online at amandabarrat.net.

June Book Club Selection

3 Jun

This month By The Book is reading Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse. We loved her debut novel, Missing Isaac, and I look forward to discussing this WWII-era novel with my group. Have you read Almost Home. We would love to know what you thought.

 

With America’s entrance into the Second World War, the town of Blackberry Springs, Alabama, has exploded virtually overnight. Workers from all over are coming south for jobs in Uncle Sam’s munitions plants — and they’re bringing their pasts with them, right into Dolly Chandler’s grand but fading family home turned boardinghouse.

An estranged young couple from the Midwest, unemployed professors from Chicago, a widower from Mississippi, a shattered young veteran struggling to heal from the war — they’re all hoping Dolly’s house will help them find their way back to the lives they left behind. But the house has a past of its own.

When tragedy strikes, Dolly’s only hope will be the circle of friends under her roof and their ability to discover the truth about what happened to a young bride who lived there a century before.

Award-winning and bestselling author Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into a cast of unforgettable characters in this complex and compassionate story of hurt and healing.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

If You Liked The Sky Above Us …

30 Apr

My book club loved The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin. It has a unique perspective — the Army Air Force pilots who aided the Allied effort before and during D Day and the mission of the American Red Cross in England. So, for today’s If You Liked post I decided to recommend WWII novels also with a unique perspective. Two focus on incidents early in the war — Dunkirk and the Blitz. The other novel explores the end of the Reich from the perspective of an American caught in Nazi Germany. All three are great reads — enjoy!

Direct Hit by Mike Hollow

The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.

On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villiers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villiers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity – and it doesn’t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.

Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villiers dead – and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

Daises Are Forever by Liz Tolsma

In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family.

Prussia, 1945

The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst.
Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her.

The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye, Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Joseph Cramer.

Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion. But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family.