by Gail Kittleson
This Women’s historical fiction book is third in the Women of the Heartland series, and takes place during World War II.
A young Iowa woman named Twila prays for guidance in contributing to the war effort and receives far more than she requested. Meanwhile, when the US forces surrender on Coregidor, Stan Ford, a soldier deployed in the Philippines, escapes capture by fleeing with an officer to a Filipino guerilla group in the mountains.
After being wounded, he recovers aboard a hospital ship and eventually returns home. But his buddies’ voices fill his thoughts—he longs to take part in their liberation.
When he is called to serve as a guard at the Algona, IA POW camp set up mainly for captured Nazi troops, he meets Twila, who has discovered her passion—nursing—while working in the camp hospital. These two devote their ALL FOR THE CAUSE, including their budding relationship.
What prompted you to write this book?
I wrote this book to honor the men and women of my parents’ era who gave so much for the cause of liberty.
I also want readers to learn the facts about this era—we must not forget what the tremendous sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation. One of these was my father-in-law, who took part in the raid on the Japanese prison camp at Cabanatuan.
Who do you think would enjoy it?
Women thirty and over probably would benefit the most, as well as anyone with a WWII connection in their family. But I also hope younger people will read this novel.
Tell us a little about the characters.
Readers can identify with Twila, who like many women in the 1940’s, grows up very quickly. She longs to make a difference, and for a stronger faith. She’s very aware of her faults and also longs for a closer relationship with her mother, especially after discovering a family secret. It takes some time for Twila to realize her strengths, but when she does, she grows in self-confidence and becomes a force for good.
Readers will also identify with Stan, whose devotion to duty and loyalty to his country stand as a great example. He exhibits faith and courage in battle, but at the same time, suffers self-doubt and wonders if his prayers to be redeployed to liberate the Philippines will be answered. Anyone familiar with soldiers suffering from PTS will cheer for Stan to rise above his mental and emotional challenges.
All For The Cause
“What do you say, Lilly?”
About to bite into the vanilla ice cream cone Mr. Olsen handed her, Twila’s five year-old niece Lilly spurted, “Shanku, Mister O.”
Mr. Olsen glanced through the café’s front window. “Dark clouds up north… Storm’s a brewin’.
Through insistent static, the radio coughed out a message, and the locals in for morning coffee perked up their ears.
We all know that General MacArthur wisely declared Manila an open city after the December attacks that destroyed half of the bombers in his Far East Air Force at Clark Field. To avoid disaster, the General withdrew our forces from Luzon to the Bataan Peninsula and set up his headquarters on the island of Corregidor.
In so doing, he bought time for seventy-five thousand American troops in the Philippines and delayed the Japanese conquest four months, even while forfeiting aerial superiority. During this time, Malaya, Singapore, and the Indies have fallen to the Axis, but our forces on Bataan have held out.
For a few seconds, the static won, so Mr. Olsen gritted his teeth and fiddled with the tuning dial.
Muttering broke out through the cafe. And then, as if in response, the newscaster’s voice returned.
Harassed by constant artillery shelling, aerial bombardment, and disease, Filipino and American defenders can no longer resist the invader. The writing is on the wall.
With regret, we announce General Wainwright’s unconditional surrender of Allied forces in the Philippines. Upwards of eleven thousand American soldiers have now fallen into enemy hands.
Let us hark back to our President’s Fireside Chat on December 9 of last year, when an estimated sixty-two million Americans tuned in:
“Powerful and resourceful gangsters have banded together to make war upon the whole human race. Their challenge has now been flung at the United States of America. The Japanese have treacherously violated the longstanding peace between us. Many American soldiers and sailors have been killed by enemy action. American ships have been sunk; American airplanes have been destroyed.
The Congress and the people of the United States have accepted that challenge. Together with other free peoples, we are now fighting to maintain our right to live among our world neighbors in freedom, in common decency, without fear of assault.”
It goes without saying, pray for our boys. And that’s how it is on May 6, 1942.
Distant thunder rolled as Mr. Olsen poured coffee for his customers, and comments crackled like popcorn.
“Unconditional, he said. Who woulda thought…”
“Sure ain’t lookin’ good.”
“Sure hate to think of ‘em bein’ prisoners.”
“Ain’t Howard Hannam’s son over there?”
“Yeah, and my brother’s boy. Sure hope MacArthur keeps his promise to rescue them fellas.”
While the men jawed about the news, Twila dabbed the ivory rim surrounding Lilly’s lips. Here sister-in-law Sharon gave her a smile.
“Thank you for the treat, Aunt Twila. We’re sure glad you work here at the café.”
The twinkle in Lilly’s eyes sent a wave of satisfaction through her—no better way to spend her tips. If only Dad could see how his little granddaughter had grown. Better write to him about her tonight—heaven knew nothing else newsworthy would be happening in Halberton.
“We’d better get going before the storm hits.” Lilly clung to Twila’s skirt as Sharon Brunner grasped her free hand.
“What a mess you’ve made—you got ice cream all over Aunt Twila’s uniform.”
“It’s okay, I need to wash it anyhow.”
“Come on, Lilly. It’s about to rain—maybe Daddy’ll come home early.”
“Show Daddy my ice cream?”
“You can show him the part on your dress, at least.”
“Give him a hug for me, please. We don’t see him much these days.” Twila gave Lilly a final kiss on the forehead.
“He’s like a freight train. The lumberyard keeps him running.” Sharon pulled at Lilly, whose smile highlighted the gap between her front teeth.
“Bye, Aunt Twira…come shee us, okay?”
“You bet I will.”
Mr. Olsen hailed her from the kitchen, so Twila snapped to.
About the Author
When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit, she facilitates writing workshops, classes and retreats both in Iowa and Arizona, where winters find her enjoying the incredibly gorgeous Ponderosa forest under the Mogollon Rim. The rest of the year, she and her husband of forty years enjoy grandchildren gardening, and visiting WWII sites. Favorites: walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.
Note: ebooks available from all retailers. Paperback available now from Amazon, available for pre-order from BN.com. Hardback available for pre-order at all retailers.
Other Books by Gail Kittleson
Book 3 of the Women of the Heartland Series A Purpose True
Book 2 of the Women of the Heartland Series With Each New Dawn
Book 1 of the Women of the Heartland Series In Times Like These
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