Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

When Valleys Bloom Again
Friday, April 12, 2019 by Pat Jeanne Davis

PLEASE WELCOME

PAT JEANNE DAVIS

TO

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

EXCERPT FROM WHEN VALLEYS BLOOM AGAIN

 

Jolie Fontaine

Main Line Philadelphia

Summer 1942

 

            Abby sat in the middle of a group of children, reading aloud a favorite story. She looked up to see Carol at her side. “Jim’s on the telephone. I’ll fill in here,” she said, taking the storybook out of Abby’s hands. “He says it’s important.”

            She rose from a stool, her heart beating faster. Jim wrote whenever possible and only called occasionally—but never in the middle of the day. It must be urgent.

            When out of sight, she sprinted down the hall, dropping breathless into a wooden chair beside the telephone. “Hello, Jim,” she said, pressing the receiver tight to her ear as if to draw him closer.

            “Hello, Darling. I had to call. But I haven’t got long to talk.”

            Silence.

            “Jim ... Jim?” Leaning forward, she rapped the cradle switch. “Are you there?”

            “I’m here. Sorry to call like this,” he said, his voice cracking. “They’re shipping me out.”

            She slumped back in the seat. “When?”

            “I board a train for New York next week. Then a troopship.”

            Abby attempted to speak, but a lump rose in her throat.

            “Sweetheart, I’m sorry I won’t see you before I leave,” he said in a subdued voice.

            She swallowed hard. “Can’t I meet your train s-s-somewhere?”

            “I looked into that. There’s nowhere.” The hopeless tone in his voice was unmistakable.

            “Then I’ll come to New York.”

            “No time for that.”

            Her eyes filled. “No time for us?”

            “Besides, there’s no more furloughs or passes. Look. It’s not all bad. I’ll probably get to London. Maybe even see your parents when I get a pass.”

            Abby sensed he was struggling for words.

            “So, that’s at least a cheerful bit of news, isn’t it?”

            “S-S-Some,” she said, trying to conceal disappointment in her voice.

            “Darling, there’s a line of men waiting to use this phone. I’ll have to go.”

            She was losing the battle to stay calm and accepting. “Must you hang up so soon?”

            He cleared his throat before speaking again. “I’m not so good at always saying what I feel. Still, you know how much I love you.” His voice carried a wealth of emotion. “I’ll be back.”

            “I’ll be waiting for you,” she said, then mumbled a muted, “goodbye.” With a click, their connection was severed.

            She replaced the receiver and closed her eyes, her lower lip trembling. She hadn’t reacted the right way to his disappointing news. After all, Jim was being sent off. He was the one at risk, not her.

            When she got back to the room Carol and the children were gone. She cleaned the blackboard and tidied up before leaving. Then she strolled to the tower and sat there until the light faded. How much longer would this war go on? Scenes from the latest Pathé newsreel—devoted to the progress of the war—flashed before her eyes. Please, Lord, keep Jim safe.

* * *

            Returning to the house, she found her uncle listening to the president’s weekly fireside chat. He pressed a finger to his lips and motioned for her to take a seat. “Nearly done,” he mouthed. On occasion, she would join him and her aunt for these broadcasts. Uncle Will proclaimed his liking for Mr. Roosevelt out of patriotism and Aunt Val by way of a fondness for Eleanor.

            When the president finished, Uncle Will turned off the radio. “I see that Eisenhower’s in England and has command of U.S. Forces in the European theater.”

            Abby went straight to her complaint. “Jim’s being sent to England.”

            “Oh, dear,” he said, leaning back and folding his arms. “This afternoon his sister hinted something was up.” He furrowed his brow. “I know how disappointed you must feel. But look on the bright side,” he said, grinning. “Perhaps he’ll get to meet your parents.”

            “Yes, that’s what Jim thought.” She forced a smile. “It’s something to hang on to.”

            “Let me show you this.” Uncle Will went over to the map on the wall that bristled with tacks of different colors. He pointed to one section, motioning for Abby to join him. “The President says that because of our navy’s victory over the Japanese here at Midway Island, there’s been a decisive turn in this phase of the war. This affects everything else to come.”

            “Surely, this war can’t go on much longer,” she said, her voice quivering.

            He rubbed the back of his neck. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, yet. Your Jim is off to fight to ensure our freedom. Pray God may help him to do what needs to be done for however long it takes.” He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Jim must do what he needs to do, and you must have faith that he will come back to you.”

            “You always say what I need to hear, Uncle.”

 

<><><> 

 

© Pat Jeanne Davis 2019 – When Valleys Bloom Again – Elk Lake Publishing

 

ABOUT WHEN VALLEYS BLOOM AGAIN

A Wartime Romance Set On Two Continents

After fleeing impending war in England, nineteen-year-old Abby Stapleton works to correct her stammer and to become a teacher in America, only to discover this conflict has no boundaries and that a rejected suitor is intent on destroying her name, fiancé, and fragile faith.

As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?

 

Available on Amazon.com and Wherever Books are Sold

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-valleys-bloom-again-pat-jeanne-davis/1130351044?ean=9781948888929     

ABOUT PAT JEANNE DAVIS

PAT JEANNE DAVIS lives in Philadelphia, Pa with her British-born husband, John. They have two grown sons. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her husband. She is a volunteer in the nursery at the church she attends and at the local chapter of MOP’s. Pat has published essays, short stories and articles online and in print. She has a keen interest in mid-twentieth-century American and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Pat’s father-in-law served in the British Eighth Army during the war. When Valleys Bloom Again is her debut historical romance set in that era. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Pat loves to hear from her readers. Subscribe to her newsletter here www.patjeannedavis.com

Website:  https://www.patjeannedavis.com 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pat.j.davis.7

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43600391-when-valleys-bloom-again?from_search=true  

Amazon Author Page:  https://amazon.com/author/patjeannedavis 

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/pat-jeanne-davis-34290422/                   

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/patjeannedavis/   

 

 

 

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