Turn back the clock to a different time and listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of
America’s involvement in the Second World War
change the lives of the Turner family in . Lafayette,
In White Christmas by Cara Putman, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the
Netherlands. Halfway around the
world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but
that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and God’s plan for a future?
From I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Sarah Sundin
Friday, December 3, 1943
Grace Kessler poked harder at the typewriter keys, trying to drown out the song. Her fingers betrayed her and tapped to the rhythm. Why did Ruby Schmidt insist on singing in the secretarial pool? Why did she have to choose Christmas songs? And couldn’t she at least pick a song with a faster beat?
Grace deciphered her shorthand notes on the spiral-bound tablet to her right and finished a business letter from Mr. Dubois in Alcoa’s procurement department to Mr. Parkhurst with the War Production Board. She zipped the letter out of the typewriter, removed the carbon paper, and laid the original in her outgoing basket and the copy in the file basket.
top producer of aluminum, crucial for the production of airplanes and other
defense materials. A secretary’s work might not be as glamorous as a nurse or a
WAVE or a Rosie the Riveter, but it allowed Grace to support both her daughter
and the war effort. America
Grace’s gaze slid to the silver picture frame on her desk, which held the last photo taken of George and Linnie together, over two years earlier. Linnie had just turned four. She sat on George’s lap, and father and daughter grinned at each other with total adoration. No little girl could have loved her daddy more.
Pain rose in Grace’s heart, and she ripped her attention back to the typewriter. The faster she typed, the faster Alcoa could produce aluminum, the faster planes could come off the assembly line, and the sooner this war would be over and no more men would be shot down by Japanese bullets over Filipino jungles.
They never even found George’s body.
“I’ll be home for Christmas . . .” Ruby’s song drifted closer.
Grace winced. No, he wouldn’t.
Something scratched the top of Grace’s head, and Ruby giggled.
“Ouch.” Grace extracted a little leafy branch from her hairdo—and a couple strands of her own dark brown hair.
“Mistletoe, sweetie.” Ruby puckered lips as red as holly berries. “You need some Christmas spirit.”
Grace replaced a bobby pin and forced herself to smile and wink at Ruby. “I need to get back to work, and so do you.”
Ruby fluffed her platinum hair. “You need a date in the worst possible way. Bobby knows the nicest young man—”
“No.” Grace pinned her strongest look on the girl. “No blind dates. Besides, who in this town would agree to baby-sit Linnie?”
“She’s a handful, isn’t she?”
“Yes, she is.” Grace rolled new paper into her typewriter, flipped the release lever, and aligned the sheet. “You’d best get back to work before Norton sees you.”
Sure enough, the door to the supervisor’s office swung open. Grace swept the mistletoe into her lap and handed a blank piece of paper to Ruby. “Thank you for taking care of this, Miss Schmidt.”
“You’re welcome, Mrs. Kessler.” Ruby skedaddled back to her desk.
“Mrs. Kessler.” Mrs. Norton glared at Grace. “Phone call. Your baby-sitter.”
Sympathetic murmurs rose from the other secretaries, but Grace’s lips and fingertips went numb. Not again.
Somehow she stood. She hid the mistletoe in the hip pocket of her bottle-green suit jacket and walked on wobbly ankles down the aisle between all the clattering typewriters.
“Thank you, Mrs. Norton.” She edged past her matronly supervisor and through the doorway to the office.
Mrs. Norton crossed her plump arms. “You’re the only one, Mrs. Kessler. The only one who takes so many personal calls. You need to get a handle on that child of yours.”
“Yes ma’am.” Grace turned her back on her supervisor to hide her anguish, and she picked up the receiver. “Mrs. Harrison?”
“I’ve had it. I’ve had it up to here.” The baby-sitter’s voice climbed and shivered. “When she’s here . . . oh, my nerves! And when she goes wandering, well, just how much can a woman take?”
Grace clenched the cold black receiver. “Is Linnie there?”
“Of course not. She’s trying to kill me, I’m sure of it.”
Inside Grace, frustration with Mrs. Harrison wrestled with worry for Linnie. The clock read 4:05. Linnie should have arrived half an hour earlier. Teaching her daughter how to ride the bus had been necessary when Linnie started school in September, but it only encouraged her wandering. Her searching.
Mrs. Harrison jabbered about her nerves, and guilt filled Grace. What kind of mother allowed her six-year-old daughter to roam the city alone?
“Excuse me, Mrs. Harrison. I need to call the police.” Again.
“This is it. This is the last time. I simply cannot take it any longer. I quit.”
Outside the tiny office window, Alcoa’s red brick smokestack jutted into the gray sky. Grace laid down the receiver, missed, and finally settled it in place.
Mrs. Norton sniffed. “Don’t even think about asking to get off early.”
“I know, ma’am.” Grace’s voice came out choked. “May I make another call, please?”
“I ought to charge you.”
Grace dialed 4045 for the Lafayette Police Department, a number she knew by heart. While the phone rang, she rubbed the aching knot at the base of her skull. Lord, please keep my baby safe.
So many horrible things could happen to her little girl. And her job. She’d worn out every available baby-sitter.
How could she stay employed without a baby-sitter? And without a job, how could she pay the bills?
Worst of all, Grace’s love wasn’t enough for her daughter.
That knowledge hollowed into her soul.
Sarah Sundin is the author of historical fiction set during World War II, including Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook, September 2014) and In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern
California with her
husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate,
she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and
women’s Bible studies.
Connect with Sarah at:
You may purchase her book at:
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Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart