This week in Publishers Weekly!
In 2008, when journalist Hval was sent by her editor at the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., to collect WWII-era love stories, she did not expect her initial skepticism to give way to admiration, or readers to also fall for the stories. Out of Hval’s reportage come 35 moving accounts of couples who married or first met during WWII. Each selection takes its title from a song of the era, such as “Have a Little Faith” and “Little Things Add Up to Love.” In one of the most affecting tales, “The Luck of the Draw,” we meet an Englishwoman, Violet, who, despite telling her sister not to “get mixed up with an American” as they were “a little too friendly,” herself fell for one, Fenton. As with many of the couples depicted here, he shipped out to war not long after their 1944 meeting, but not before successfully proposing marriage; they married the next year, both wearing their uniforms. Each chapter includes photographs of the bride and groom either at the beginning of their unions or just before, as well as more recently; dates are given for anyone who has since passed away. Hval’s journalistic style restrains the potential sentimentality, which won’t prevent these glimpses of love in the face of war from winning over romantics everywhere. (Feb.)