Winner of the 2016 Gold Quill award for best adult fiction from the League of Utah Writers.
About the book:
Clara, Reed, Trudi, and Joseph are young, optimistic college students just beginning to learn about life and love. But when the U.S. enters the Great War in 1917, their lives are forever changed. They soon find themselves in different parts of the world fighting in the war effort. But amid the horrors of war, can they stay true to who they are? This novel weaves real events with compelling fictional characters into a sweeping tale of war, romance, self-discovery, and sacrifice.
June 1, 1918
Belleau Wood, France
Reed stood facing his platoon, rigid at attention, the curve of his officer’s bamboo cane pinned at his hip, the tip touching his right collarbone like a saber. He stood composed, his back to the Germans waiting to kill him.
The men fell into formation quickly, the rows dressed under the cold eyes of Gunnery Sergeant Allen. If they were to die, they’d do so in straight lines. They faced Reed, their aught-threes at shoulder arms, rigid, waiting for the call.
Sergeant Allen took his position, gave Reed a slight nod, and Reed executed his best about face, towards the wheat field, just 600 yards to the edge of Belleau Wood, and the Boche.
It was as if he were completely alone. Desperate to see his fellow officers on his left or right, he un-caged his eyes without moving his head but could see no one with his peripheral vision, no comrade with whom to march forward. An officer leads from the front.
He slid his left hand along his trouser seam up to his chest to grip the whistle lanyard, then the whistle itself, hoping he could blow it when the time came. He knew the other men were terrified too, he could hear soft prayers behind him. Not the words, but the rhythms, the meter.
The march from the assembly area had surely not helped their morale. It seemed like every human being capable of travel was heading the other direction. Everyone except the U.S. Marines.