Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

THE WIDOW & THE WAR CORRESPONDENT
Friday, June 19, 2020 by LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

Fiction Friday

Linda Shenton Matchett

June 19, 2020

 

 

 

PLEASE WELCOME

LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

TO

FICTION FRIDAY

In the early years of journalism, women were relegated to covering the four Fs: Food, family, fashion, and furnishings. As time progressed, some women managed to break into investigative reporting and make a name for themselves such as Nellie Bly and Mary Roberts Rinehart. But for the most part, journalism was a man’s job.

When WWII occurred, women raised their hands to be included. To go overseas as a war correspondent, reporters had to receive accreditation which included a lengthy background check on applicants and their families. Accreditation acted as a contract: The Army or Navy transported correspondents into war zones, fed and sheltered them, and sent their dispatches home. In return, correspondents followed military law and censorship. Anyone who defied rules lost credentials.

Of the 2,000 certified correspondents, 127 were women. Nearly every commander in the Allied forces refused to allow women near combat. But some accredited women did see battle. Sometimes the front shifted, catching the ladies in the thick of the action. Some asked officers to write letters of introduction to combat zones. Still, others got there by hook or by crook, such as Martha Gellhorn who hid in the bathroom of a hospital ship headed to Normandy. She impersonated a stretcher bearer to get on the beach.

It is my hope that The Widow & The War Correspondent (Sisters in Service, 3):  honors these stalwart women in some small way.

Here’s an excerpt:

Nearly out of her own rationed amount of fuel, Cora Strealer was thrilled when Amanda offered to pick her up. Bicycling to the plant in her suit hardly seemed like an option. She climbed inside the back seat of the car, and her jaw dropped.

Beside her, Rita Hayworth held out her hand. “Mrs. Strealer? A pleasure to meet you.”

Cora’s heart threatened to jump from her chest, and she took a deep breath as she shook the movie star’s hand. “Uh, it’s Miss Strealer. I use my maiden name for my byline, but you can call me Cora.”

“Perfect, and please call me Rita. We don’t need formalities with just us girls here.” She smoothed the skirt on her emerald-green dress then straightened the pillbox hat set on her gleaming titian-colored hair. Her smile was genuine as she patted Cora’s knee. “How long have you been a newspaperwoman?”

“Since high school. I got my degree in English then moved to Hawaii when my husband was assigned there. I wrote for the Honolulu Star Advertiser, but after he was killed, I moved home, and now I write for the local paper.”

“I’m sorry to hear about your husband.”

Cora shrugged. “It was a long time ago.”

From the driver’s seat, Amanda gestured over her shoulder. “Cora’s a great writer. I think she should apply to become a war correspondent. Especially with her experience at Pearl.”

 Face heating, Cora shook her head. “Miss Hayworth…Rita…doesn’t want to hear about my life.”

“On the contrary.” Rita smiled. “It will be nice to focus on someone other than myself. I appreciate what my celebrity status can do for the boys in the service and the country’s morale, but being the center of attention is fatiguing. Tell me about the opportunity.”

Licking her lips, Cora gulped. “In order to be a war correspondent overseas, I need to receive accreditation from the government which involves a lengthy background check and a physical. Working for such a tiny newspaper, I’m not sure I’ll pass.”

“How about the Associated Press or United Press?” Rita cocked her head.

“Don’t they have plenty of staff already?”

“This war spans the globe. There can never be too many reporters. I’ll write you a letter of introduction to the London bureau chief for the UP. Will that help?”

Cora’s eyes widened. “Well…uh—”

Amanda clapped her hands. “You’re a peach, Rita. A recommendation from you should get our girl in.”

“I’m happy to help. We gals need to stick together.”

“Thank you, Miss—Rita. I appreciate the offer. I haven’t decided to pursue going overseas.”

“You can’t let this pass you by, Cora. You’re stagnating here in this one-horse town. Nothing is keeping you here. Certainly not this newspaper that doesn’t appreciate your talent. I say go for it. Don’t you agree, Rita?”

Rita turned to Cora. “What do you want? Are you happy with your current position? You need to make the decision that’s right for you, but I will say that if I hadn’t made some changes in my life, I wouldn’t be the star I am today. Sometimes shaking things up is good. Perhaps being a war correspondent will be the best thing to happen to you. Maybe not, but you won’t know unless you try.”

“You’re right. I’m stuck in a rut. Here in town, everyone feels sorry for me. They tiptoe around, afraid to talk about the war or my husband. A fresh start where no one knows about Brian might be just the ticket.” Grinning, Cora straightened and crossed her arms. “Look out, world. Here I come.”

ABOUT LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did ordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has lived in historic places all her life. Now in New Hampshire, her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

Social media links:

Website/Blog: http://www.LindaShentonMatchett.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaShentonMatchettAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lindasmatchett

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lindasmatchett

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/author_linda_matchett

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Shenton-Matchett/e/B01DNB54S0

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-shenton-matchett

 

 

MORE ABOUT THE WIDOW & THE WAR CORRESPONDENT

Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?

Barely married before she’s widowed, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter. A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, so why is he being saddled with a cub reporter? The beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?

Purchase link: https://books2read.com/u/m2ZXZG

 

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Comments

Linda Matchett From New Hampshire At 6/24/2020 6:50:27 PM

Thanks for stopping by Gail! I appreciate your kind words.

Gail Kittleson From Iowa At 6/24/2020 11:22:03 AM

Linda, what a GREAT plot!! This goes on my TBR pile posthaste!

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