15 April, 2017

Sentimental Journey by Barbara Bretton #review

Pages -   348
Publisher -   Free Spirit Press
Published -   October 15, 2014
First Published -  1990 Harlequin
Series -  Home Front, Book One of Three
Sold by -  Amazon Digital Services LLC
Genre -   WWII, Romance, Historical Romance
Sexual Content -  0/5
Language -  1/5
Narrative -  3rd Person

Before they became The Greatest Generation, they were young men and women in love... 
It's June 1943.
From New York to California, families gather to send their sons and husbands, friends and lovers off to war. The attack on Pearl Harbor seems a long time ago as America begins to understand that their boys won't be home any time soon.
In Forest Hills, New York City, twenty-year-old Catherine Wilson knows all about waiting. She's been in love with boy-next-door Doug Weaver since childhood, and if the war hadn't started when it did, she would be married and maybe starting a family, not sitting at the window of her girlhood bedroom, waiting for her life to begin.
But then a telegram from the War Department arrives, shattering her dreams of a life like the one her mother treasures. 
Weeks drift into months as she struggles to find her way. An exchange of letters with Johnny Danza, a young soldier in her father's platoon, starts off as a patriotic gesture, but soon becomes a long-distance friendship that grows more important to her with every day that passes. 
The last thing Catherine expects is to open her front door on Christmas Eve to find Johnny lying unconscious on the Wilsons' welcome mat with a heart filled with new dreams that are hers for the taking.

Disappointing -

I expected a lot more, but this was just a history Primer with zero depth or commitment.

Instead of reading a true romance set in the United States at the height of World War II, I was instead given a lot of gleaned information about that era with little to no substance in plot, characters, or setting.

Or citations.

Another award-winning author with dozens of novels under her belt and a slew of loyal followers, but with no rhyme or reason to it.

Barbara Bretton writes okay but not spectacular or anywhere near some of the greats in Historical romance or otherwise.

She screwed up right away by saying that Nancy had gone to see White Christmas three times in the span of a week or two when the movie title was actually Holiday Inn and it had released the year prior to this story's opening scene.

Crosby and Astaire co-starred in Holiday Inn (1942) – where the song 'White Christmas' first appeared ~Wikipedia

However, what seemed far more damning (to me) was the author's inexcusable quoting of others' material... very VERY close to being plagiarized work.

"People are doubling and tripling up, and there still aren't enough apartments to go around." After Pearl Harbor, war-production plants had sprung up almost overnight, bringing large influxes of workers into areas ill prepared to house them. pos:1445

And, while the above quote might not be verbatim, most of the novel still read this way, like a history textbook with a love story tossed in between, which is just weird.

I've never read an Historical Romance where the author felt obliged to constantly (if at all) interject with facts/figures/data on the era, and I didn't like it.

Very awkward and disingenuous, making for a difficult read.

There isn't much to tell you about Catherine and Johnny other than they were alive during World War II and met at The Stage Door Canteen on the night Catherine's childhood sweetheart dies in battle.

The rest of the story is about Catherine's life after her father goes off to war with Johnny, how she takes care of her father's manufacturing company and has to deal with a lot of hard-headed men.

And in between, we're offered glimpses of a budding relationship between her younger sister, Nancy, and her male pen pal soldier.

All of it interspersed with un-quoted facts about that time period when it honestly felt like this should have been cited.

There are two more stories in this series, set below for your interest, but I will not be reading any more of this author's WWII work.

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