Four decades after World War II, 1986 is a year of terrorist hijackings, of personal computers and CD players, of AIDS and Miami Vice. It also is a year in which a beloved doctor falls to his death, a Pan Am pilot is shot while trying to foil the takeover of Pan Am flight 73, and when four bitter French widows use their medicines as bets to play poker in their retirement home while a lonely nun observes her vows of silence in an Irish convent. And it is the year when a cache of faded letters is discovered in a cellar, causing Frank Hastings to realize that he is not who he believed he is, and to go in search of his mother.
Best Novel of the Year — Military Writers Society of America, Finalist
Best Novel of the South — Willie Morris, Finalist
Best Novel with a Romantic Element — Dear Author, Finalist
Dr. Hastings has fallen (or jumped) to his death off a bridge over the interstate. He leaves behind a world of secrets and two grown sons, Peter and Frank. These two men are not on the best of terms. As a matter of fact, Peter calls Frank a bastard at Dr. Hastings funeral. As the family cleans out Dr. Hastings things, they find many drawings and letters. This just leads to more mystery and hard feelings.
This story is a bit long and round about with many characters and intricacies. It definitely could have been shortened. However, it is well written and the characters are true to life. I enjoyed Frank. He is the best. When he discovers a secret pertaining to who he is…GAME CHANGER! I love books which carry a twist from the past. This tale has that plus many more. The mysteries and the flashbacks to WWII and Vietnam are very intriguing.
This book is the third in a series. I had no idea till I finished this read. I have not read the other two. This did not affect my opinion about this book at all. This is a stand alone read.
Don’t miss this intricate and wonderful family drama!
About the Author
Jack Woodville London studied the craft of fiction at the Academy of Fiction, St. Céré, France and at Oxford University. He was the first Author of the Year of the Military Writers Society of America.
His French Letters novels are widely praised for their portrayal of America in the 1940s, both at home and in the Second World War, and as Americans evolved from the experience of that war into the consumer society of the baby boom generation. Children of a Good War is the third book in that series. The first book, Virginia’s War, was a Finalist for Best Novel of the South and the Dear Author ‘Novel with a Romantic Element’ contest. The second volume, Engaged in War, won the silver medal for general fiction at the London Book Festival, among other awards.
His craft book, A Novel Approach, a short and light-hearted work on the conventions of writing, is designed to help writers who are setting out on the path to write their first book. A Novel Approach won the E-Lit Gold Medal for non-fiction in 2015. Jack also is the author of several published articles on the craft of writing and on early 20th century history.
His work in progress is Shades of the Deep Blue Sea, a mystery-adventure novel about two sailors and a girl, set on a Pacific island World War II.
Jack lives in Austin, Texas.
Interview with the Author
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?
8th grade. I was enrolled in a ‘Ready Writing’ competition and won a prize of some kind for a story about someone very like me who somehow fixed up a wrecked sports car, then had lots of adventures in places whose names I misspelled. I was taken by the craft of writing when I read a number of books in which the word choices the authors made were extraordinary. Examples were the romance poem ‘The Eve of St. Agnes’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ (“The hound? The hound did nothing.” “Exactly.”)
2. Where/When do you best like to write?
In my study. I write best in the mornings when I’m alone.
3. Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?
Probably not. I believe that when working on fiction, you should attempt 1000 words a day. I also believe that you should begin by reading what you wrote yesterday, edit and revise it, then move on to a fresh 1000 words. Repeat tomorrow.
4. When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?
I dig out one of several novels that just light my fires. Larry McMurtry teaches creative writing with every sentence. I read almost anything by Evelyn Waugh or Anthony Powell. John Lanchester and Hilary Mantel are creative and inspiring.
5. What do you think makes a good story?
A flawed protagonist, a conflict, a solution, then disaster.