- Title: Home and Away: A World War II Christmas Story
- Author: Dean Hughes
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (September 29, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1629720933
- FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
A historical fiction novel told from the perspective of a son fighting on the battlefields of Europe during World War II and his mother, struggling with worry and uncertainty about her soldier son while she tries to keep a semblance of a normal, happy Christmas holiday back on the home front. Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but 1944 will make that more difficult with money being tight and wartime rationing making everything hard to come by.
Aware of his mother's hardships and the worry from having her eldest son at war, second son, Dennis, is determined to buy his mother a special gift this Christmas, a lavender blue dress he hopes will bring her comfort as a symbol of special times gone by and the hope of a brighter future with the family reunited at war's end.
Meantime, on the long campaign to free Europe, her soldier son carries on as best he can, the horrors of war taking its heavy toll on armies and civilians alike. On a battlefield far from home in Holland with his 101st Airborne battalion, he catches a familiar scent of lavender which briefly transports him back to the home front to the perfume scent his mother wore, giving him a short respite and reuniting the family once again if only in his imagination. This historical fiction novel is a nostalgic and tender story about the power of love, the reality of war, and the hope we all have that things will turn out all right.
Once I stopped crying after reading the end of the book, I started writing this review. The actual review is not posting for another week, but I had to write down the emotions I was feeling right now.
First let me say, if you buy any new Christmas book this year for your family, Home and Away: A World War II Christmas Story by Dean Hughes is the book to buy!!
Now, this isn't the first time that a Dean Hughes story has made me cry. No, he is responsible for many tears shed at my house through the years while reading one of his many novels. I can guarantee that this story will touch your heart, whether or not it's Christmas time, but it will make it just that more special to read during the holidays.
This story is one that will make you appreciate your family more, your freedoms, and those who are in the military. The spirit of Christmas is strong in the book as the Hayes family is preparing for Christmas. With the war on, supplies and money are scarce. Middle son, Dennis, is going to high school and working an after school job to earn money to buy something nice for his mom for Christmas.His older brother is off fighting in the war in Germany and the family worries if they will ever see him again. This book shows the many miracles and gifts that can be found, especially at this time of year.
This book is so heart warming that it is the perfect family read-aloud for this Christmas. I know that is exactly what I'm planning on doing this December.
Purchase Home and Away: HERE
Meet Author Dean Hughes:
Dean Hughes was born in Ogden, Utah on August 24, 1943. He started telling people in junior high that he was going to be a writer, but he did not become serious until he took a creative writing class in high school. During his senior year in high school he started his first novel.
He attended Weber State University studying English, and received a Masters in creative writing and a PhD in literature from the University of Washington. Before he became a full-time writer, he taught English at Central Missouri State University for 8 years. Hughes has also taught creative writing at Brigham Young University.
Hughes was 35 when his first book was published. He has written and published over ninety books. Much of his writing is targeted to children and young adults (particularly sports-themed and World War II-era books), although he is also well known to adult readers of LDS Fiction for "Children of the Promise" and "Hearts of the Children" series, set in World War II and Vietnam War eras respectively. He is one of the writers largely credited with the rapidly increasing quality of Mormon literature in recent years. in 2011 one of his books,Midway to Heaven, was made into a movie.
Dean Hughes is married and has three children and nine grandchildren.
In March 2008, Hughes received a Lifetime Achievement award at the inaugural Whitney Awards.
In September 2013, Hughes celebrated the publication of his 100th book, Through Cloud and Sunshine.
In April 2014 he was awarded a lifetime-achievement AML Award.
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