“Mrs. Hval is a first-rate professional writer. War Bonds should be a bestseller, and not only a bestseller but a long-term seller.”
-Patrick F. McManus, New York Times best-selling author of the Bo Tully mysteries
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.
War Bonds is a refreshing change from most of the anthologies of today. The love stories of the couples featured in this book have stood the test of time , under the most difficult situations, leaving the reader spellbound. These stories brought to the fore by Cindy Hval, are true stories of how some extremely brave and loving couples, who were married at the onset of World War II, will help us to remember the lives of our parents or grandparents during that time when you never knew whether this would be the last time you ever saw some of your loved ones.
The author tells the stories of thirty-six couples in the Northwest part of our country, relating real difficult moments in battle that took place during the marriages and the fact that none of the couples ever gave up, sticking to the vows that they made to their spouses during these difficult times. Each story was told with both humor and joy and sometimes sadness, telling of each couples’ situations and their personal times together.
The writer of this wonderful book, Cindy Hval, wrote many articles in a series of features about couples who met and married during World War II. Her stories covered couples who met before the war started, during the war and some after the war was over. Making the decision to put these articles together in one book was an astute decision. Readers will be delighted to read these stories, whether they know people from that era or not.
The most impressive things about all these stories are that the folks stayed together through thick and thin. There are not a lot of folks from the Greatest Generation still with us, but these stories are so full of the lives of these folks in these stories, it will make us all remember their love and determination to their homes and each other.
Quill says: This is a wonderful history lesson for us.
–Mary Lignor, Feathered Quill Book Reviews
Featured Reviews from Amazon.com
“Beautiful stories of love and commitment amidst war and hardship. Love it!” –Marina T.
“I love this era. Their lives might have been hard without much money but the optimism this generation had served as a foundation for our future. No wonder they are called the greatest generation!” –Kindle Customer
“Absolutely the best book I have ever read.” –Tony Bergman
“Wonderful and inspiring stories of love!” –Caryssa Gilmore
“I loved the way every story sounded fresh and new and was told with a sense of humor and joy.” –colossal
“Heartfelt and sincere throughout. After several failed marriages, and even more unhappy relationships, It made me believe in true love again.” –AZga
“This is an incredible book that is a must read. Each love story stirs up powerful emotions. Each love story has lessons that have been learned and are now being passed on to future generations.” –Jenny Vandine
“Couples from this generation endured unimaginable hardships and heartache, yet they remained strong and persevered.” –Erin Bishop
“Cindy brought to life so many memories, both joyful and sad, for many of us who experienced World War ll.” –Bonnie Shaw
The San Francisco Book Review
World War II brought a lot of pain into the world, but, in the face of tragedy, long-lasting bonds of camaraderie, affection, and love were formed between men and women of the “greatest generation.” For example, Fenton Roskelley and Violet Shipman met in England in 1944, simply because she’d picked her name out of a hat and so was transferred to Cornwall. This tiny slip of paper changed the rest of their lives. Warren and Betty Schott met through mutual friends after she moved to Los Angeles. They survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and lengthy work-related separations during their marriage, but they have remained best friends for more than 75 years.
Cindy Hval recounts these, and thirty-four other, memorable stories in War Bonds – Love Stories From the Greatest Generation. Throughout this book, she clearly celebrates not only the personal sacrifices these couples made to serve their country, but also their devotion to one other, their deep-rooted friendship, and the profound respect that has kept their marriages strong for six to seven decades. This collection of memories serves to remind us that love can last a lifetime and preserves the optimistic recollections of men and women who lived during such a dark time in history, but persevered and built wonderfully happy lives together.
–Ruth Duran-Chea, San Francisco Book Review
“I randomly picked up your War Bond book from my local library and I just have to tell you, this book is stunning! The couples in here inspire me to be a better wife and mom.
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to gathering these important stories before they were lost forever.”
-Elizabeth, Edgewood, Washington
Featured Reviews from Barnes & Noble Readers
“Beautiful stories, beautiful photos! Absolutely love the history of the endurance of a marriage through these difficult times.” -lv2readJT
“If you are a history buff , enjoy true stories , and a romantic at heart this book is for you!! It is a wonderful read!!!” -Sheryl Ann Brown
“Wonderful, beautiful love stories told in an endearing and engaging style. Perfect for anyone interested about WWII and true love!”
Plenty of World War II-era books cover history, yet little ink captures the love stories behind the greatest generation. Young couples facing wartime trials forged relationships as seeds to 60- and 70-year marriages. Now, Cindy Hval’s first book “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation” describes 36 couples and their romances in the shadow of WWII.
“It’s really snapshots of the couples’ portraits,” Hval said, although she includes some WWII history. “This is about their love stories, how they met, how the war impacted their relationship. World War II framed their stories.”
Hval said courtships during that era had a unique set of challenges. Wartime uncertainties led to many couples marrying quickly. Many children were born while husbands served overseas. Yet, these men and women built lifelong bonds and emerged from the war determined to work and raise families, she said.
“Cindy Hval has a gift for telling a story and finding the nuggets that make them come alive – as I read, a flash of familiarity would wash over me – as if I just had the chance to really get to know the couple whose story I read. Put in the context of war, and that war, made history come to life – no longer history, but actual life.
“Love, love the love lessons – and the photos in between. I spent the majority of the time with tears in my eyes, imagining this or that. It takes a true storyteller to create that kind of connection. Cindy Hval is that kind of storyteller.”
-Beth Mary Bollinger, author, “Until the End of the Ninth”
The River Journal
World War II shaped a generation in numerous ways, but perhaps none so poignant as are revealed in this series of 36 stories of how love can be birthed and endure for a lifetime in the midst of a world-wide cataclysm.
Sometimes you’ll laugh, often you’ll smile, and a few of these stories you’ll read through tears, as Cindy introduces you to these couples whose love has lasted their lifetimes. You’ll meet young mothers who don’t know if their husband is still alive, high school sweethearts, young men whose love endured even while held as a Prisoner of War.
Originally written as a series of regular columns in the Spokesman-Review, Cindy says, “I fell in love with writing them and thousands of readers fell in love with reading them.” She describes these stories as “… born out of the hardship, separation and deprivation of WWII,” and reminds us that a half century from now, it may well be difficult to find marriages like these that “have endured 60 to 70 years.”
–Trish Gannon, The River Journal
Cindy Hval writes love stories.
Not werewolf-and-vampire tales or the stuff of Lifetime movies, but actual love stories. The Spokesman-Review columnist writes about, among other things, how local real-life couples came to be.
Her new book, War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation, is a special set of romantic tales about young lovers who got together during World War II and kept their bond through the conflicts — military or otherwise — that life threw at them.
The book features 36 couples, with each love story receiving its own chapter, complemented by photos Hval painstakingly tracked down. During the three years of researching and writing War Bonds, some of her subjects were widowed, reinforcing Hval’s notion that the stories needed to be told sooner rather than later.
“The last time I checked, 555 World War II veterans die each day. Every time I saw an obituary in the paper [for a WWII veteran] it was a real emotional jolt,” says Hval, 50, who was born at Fairchild Air Force Base, the daughter of a WWII veteran, and is married to a former National Guard pilot.
She says these romantic stories build a larger picture of a generation that lived with war, and came to have a unique perspective when it came to marriage and family that we don’t see these days.
“We’re still at war, and a lot of marriages aren’t lasting. World War II was the last war that the whole country bought into and thought was important,” she says. “A lot of the men and women volunteered and did their part, and that kind of feeling that ‘This is just what we do as a country’ transferred to their marriages.”
Hval, who says writing these personal love stories over the years has made her more of a romantic, is happy to announce that nine couples featured in the book will be on hand at Sunday’s reading. There’s going to be a certain satisfaction in delivering these stories to her subjects in person.
“They’re so passionate. Not just about the military service and their relationships; they want their grandchildren to have this joy of a lifelong relationship.”
Home & Harvest Magazine
“In the book War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation, Zelma Garinger and her husband David of 60 years, said something I still cannot get out of my head: Don’t expect it to be perfect. Love is a decision.”
-Ashley Centers, July/August 2015 Home & Harvest Magazine
Featured Review from Goodreads Reader
I have a confession to make. I’m not a history buff. When browsing book covers (no, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but you can’t deny that everyone does it anyway), I will avoid books with vintage photos and titles intimating the past. I had a feeling, though, that War Bonds would be different, due mostly because it is a book simply chock full of love stories.
I’m a sucker for a good love story.
The love stories aren’t your ordinary boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again Hollywood popcorn stuffers either. No, they are the tales told by those who have lived through the worst, have managed to survive, together, through love’s strongest test–the test of time.
I wouldn’t say these stories are recipes for success, but I would say that there are some extremely valuable lessons regardless. Most often the lesson of “how do you stay together despite everything” is simply that you do, that you are fond enough of each other that you just keep moving forward. I get that the simple lessons of folks who have been there are hard to take into our everyday struggles, but they are no less important to hear.
The thirty love stories that fill the pages of War Bonds add up to something almost indescribable, and I’m happy to experienced each and everyone one of them. I congratulate Cindy Hval on recognizing their importance, and hope she’ll continue the good work of documenting these important stories that shines light on what the words “happily ever after” really mean.
-Terry Bain, author You Are a Dog: Life Through the Eyes of Man’s Best Friend and We Are the Cat: Life Through the Eyes of the Royal Feline
The Best of World War II
Wartime brings out some of our strongest emotions, but arguably one of the most powerful is love. With the very real possibility of death hovering over them, men and women of the 1940s often rushed to get married before the soldier shipped off to war, or made a commitment to marry once the war was over. They often wrote ardent letters to each other full of dreams of the future. Those letters became the glue that kept them together when the fighting, the waiting, and the separation became too much.
War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation by Cindy Hval brings many of those stories to life. A journalist, Hval gathered 36 stories from men and women across America and compiled them into this wonderful volume.
Each story features wartime photos of the couples, as well as photos of their lives together 70 years later. This is perhaps the most poignant feature of the book, to see how their marriages have lasted for more than half a century. They will be the first to admit that it certainly hasn’t been a bed of roses, but has taken commitment, strength, courage, and devotion to stay together through thick and thin.
–Melissa Marsh, historical fiction writer and WWII historian
Send Cindy your thoughts on War Bonds
War Bonds in the News:
- “War Bonds”, Coeur d’Alene Living Local, Jocelyn Stott, January 2015, pages 25-26
- “Author Cindy Hval finds love in the Greatest Generation”, Inlander, Mike Bookey, February 18, 2015
- “Cindy Hval’s regular newspaper feature inspires book of WWII romances”, Spokesman Review, Treva Lind, February 19, 2015
- “First Look”, Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living, Blythe Thimsen, February 2015, page 21
- “Local Love Stories Featured in ‘War Bonds'”, Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press, Kerri Thoreson, March 11, 2015
- “Buy some ‘War Bonds’ tonight in Coeur d’Alene”, Spokesman Review, Dan Webster, March 11, 2015
- “Memories of love and war”, The Spectrum, St. George, Utah, Kevin Jenkins, April 11, 2015
- “Spokane’s lingering taste…”, Spokesman Review, Spokane, Washington, Rachel Alexander, June 30, 2017
- “Love Stories From the Greatest Generation”, Nostalgia, February 9, 2018