Louise’s War ~Sarah R. Shaber

Louises WarISBN ~ 9780727880406
Publisher ~ Severn House Publishers
No. Of Pages ~208 pages
Links ~ Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books

The first in a new series from the author of the ‘Simon Shaw’ books – 1942. Louise Pearlie, a young widow, has come to Washington DC to work as a clerk for the legendary OSS, the precursor to the CIA. When, while filing, she discovers a document concerning the husband of a college friend, Rachel Bloch, – a young French Jewish woman she is desperately worried about – Louise realizes she may be able to help get Rachel out of Vichy France. But then a colleague whose help Louise has enlisted is murdered, and she realizes she is on her own, unable to trust anyone . . .

4 Thumbs-UpThis is the first time I have read a book by this Author, and I was pulled to it by the subject matter; I have read many books about the SOE and their operatives, I was interested to read about the American equivalent, OSS.

I was initially disappointed by the fact that this was not an OSS book, but rather a novel that revolved around the life and experiences of the title character who worked for the OSS.  Very much like the real women in the book The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, the main protagonist was firm in her belief that any little she could do would help win the war.  Despite not being a war widow, she has taken full advantage of the war to expand her horizons and make a new life for herself.  The whole story is told from her point of view and, despite living in a boarding house full of other war workers in DC, it also manages to highlight the mistrust that so easily arose from the slightest thing, and how everyone had secrets.  Apart from the main character, those others mentioned in the book were not given as in-depth a back-story, and even in this I felt there was something in Louise’s story that the Author was holding back, or has not quite decided on making a part of her character yet.

I particularly liked the descriptions of live in the capitol during the war years, and had a wry smile at the mention of rationing in a country that was capable of producing food for themselves.  It is apparent that the Author has meticulously researched this book as it covers things from victory gardening to the insufferable heat that was documented for 1942, and how the inhabitants of Washington DC coped with it.  This book actually became quite sluggish in part (maybe a reflection of the hot summer), but it left me feeling that the pace of the action could have been picked up to add to the flow and tension of the book.

I would recommend this book to any reader looking for a quick but enjoyable read on a rainy day; I read it in one sitting.  I will be reading others in this series as the fate of Louise and the OSS has me curious.

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Wednesday Poem: Squash Under the Bed ~ Ofelia Zepeda

WinterSquash15

Squash Under the Bed

There was always crooked-neck squash under our beds.
The space under the bed met the criteria of a cool, dark, dry place.
These large, hard-skinned squash with speckled, serrated,
green and yellow designs shared space under our beds
with new cowboy boots, lost socks, forgotten toys,
dust and little spiders.
The squash rested under there with our memory of summer.
Awaiting winter darkness.
With the cold weather, we split the hard skin and expose the
rich yellow meat inside, the bounty of large seeds entangled
in the wetness of their origin.
We saved the seeds for next summer.
We eat the soft, sweet meat of the winter squash.
We swallow the warmth of summer.

Ofelia Zepeda

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Labor Day Weekend Poem: Always Finish ~ Anonymous

 

nycworkerslewishine

Always Finish

If a task is once begun,
Never leave it till it’s done.
Be the labor great or small,
Do it well or not at all.

Anonymous

If anyone reading this knows who wrote it, please let me know so I can credit the Author.

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Wednesday Poem: I Worried ~ Mary Oliver

Good-Morning-Sunrise-Dolphin

I Worried

I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning
and sang.

Mary Oliver

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Wednesday Poem: Tree of Life ~ Erin Hanson

tree of life

This is the tree of life
And this is how it goes:
No one gets to choose the way in which the cold wind blows.

We can say our branch is strongest
That it’s highest and it’s best,
but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s connected to the rest.

So instead of ripping leaves off
Perhaps we ought to stop,
To ask ourselves why we’re convinced we belong right at the top.

And in this storm that we’re creating?
Well, the best view will be worst,
For when the lightning finally strikes

It strikes the top branch first.

Erin Hanson

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Wednesday Poem: Change Is All ~ Olivia Libby

autumn trio

Change Is All

No one will ever know how I feel.
For I cannot even explain it all.
Nobody to love.
Nobody to blame.
Everyone always the same.
Nothing to care about.
No reason to lie.
For I am me, myself, and I.
No ones sees what I see.
Nobody left to care for me.
It’s kind of sad knowing what’s true, cause then you know who’s there for you.
Most of them just put on that act.
A lot of them talk bad about me behind my back.
Thanks for making me feel this way, there’s nothing more I should have to say.
All the times I was alone, makes me feel weird when someone’s home.
No family for support, no friends to care.
People wonder why I don’t go anywhere.
Every night crying myself to sleep, sometimes I wish someone loved me.
No hope, no love, no life, no friends the pain never ends.
Sometimes I ask what did I do to deserve this.
But nobody answers.
A voice in my head tells me to forget the bad and remember good.
But then I answer to myself saying there is no good to remember.
I always yell at myself asking why me? why?
Sitting in a empty spare room.
No one to talk to about how I feel.
No one to ask me what I feel.
Is anyone out there in this harsh world we live in?
Sometimes I begin to wonder.
Sometimes I’m harsh on myself.
Morn comes and I wake up wishing I was never born.
Please help others, because today’s lives our being taken out of this world just as easy as they are coming in.
You can change someone’s life.
Make a change.
It’s a tough world.

Olivia Libby

Wednesday Poem: The Life That I Have ~ Leo Marks

life-600x400

The Life That I Have

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours.

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.

For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

Leo Marks