On the beach in the summer of 1941, eighteen-year-old Nuala Comeaux reconnects with Keith Roussel, a friend of her brothers’. The attraction between them is electric, but the threat of war looms for Nuala, Keith, and her family. Nuala and Keith marry when Nuala learns she is pregnant. Nuala gives birth to their daughter when Keith deploys. When Keith is killed in action, Nuala joins the WAAC and then OSS.
While working under cover, Nuala discovers the truth surrounding her husband’s disappearance and the treachery leading to his capture and ultimate death. With the help of her brothers and a gorgeous Japanese operative, Nuala vows to take down the AXIS powers and avenge her husband even if she must seek revenge while lying in the arms of the enemy. Not all of them will survive. All will be irrevocably changed.
Who is the enemy and who survives?
Keith became a staple at 2657 Palmyra Street. Magda was famous throughout the neighborhood for her Sunday dinners. She rose early every Sunday for the first Mass, slipping on a pastel cotton dress and lace veil. Her family still asleep, she made her devotions early so she could hurry home from St. Joseph’s and prepare the noon meal. Her husband David, her daughters, and her still single son, George, attended later with her married son, Will, and his family. While the family sat in the pews at St. Joseph’s Church, Magda prepared the brown gravy, spaghetti and carefully seasoned stewed chicken. Since summer, she knew to set two extra plates because Keith Roussel and Sal Pepitone often accompanied them. Nuala and Rose joined the boys’ families later for coffee. Magda sensed that Keith preferred her cooking to his own mother’s, but she was too polite even to hint at such a thing. Sal’s mother was well-known for her cooking skills. She’d once worked in a restaurant. Magda guessed that the two young men would have eaten her cooking even if she’d produced the most terrible slop to grace a table. The draw was her daughters.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Frau. It’s the girls’ Schönheit keeps those boys gulping down your food,” she muttered to herself in the mix of German and English she often adopted when alone.
“Talking to yourself, woman?” David Comeaux stood in the doorway of the kitchen smiling at his wife.
“Just thinking.” She sprinkled crushed garlic and bay leaves into the pot. She turned to him. “Hand me that colander. The spaghetti is ready.”
“Do you mind all this mess on Sunday?” David Comeaux retrieved the colander from a cabinet. He rubbed his wife’s back as she stirred her gravy.
“No, of course not. When have I ever minded it? We always have a full table.”
“You seem nervous lately. Is something bothering you? Don’t you like these boys calling on the girls?”
“Why wouldn’t I? They’re fine young men. Our families have known their families since our kinder were small.” Magda moved to the sink to drain the spaghetti.
“What, then? Is it what’s going on in Europe?” David moved behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. His lips brushed her neck.
Magda turned and touched her husband’s face. “You always knew me. David, I remember what war was. So do you. You remember the trenches, don’t you?”
David looked away and stared at a bird pounding against the window. His eyes briefly glazed over. Then, he smiled at her. “I remember a pretty German girl who helped me while I was trapped in a church.”
“Ja, and you remember the danger. Had I not found you, you would have lost an arm. My family’s house was bombed. People on all sides lost lives and homes. Our sons talk about it like it will be a game. I remember the bombs. I remember the horror. I remember being hungern. It’s not a game. Who can describe Berlin in flames?”
“It’s going to be all right, hon.” David cupped her chin between his thumb and forefinger.
“You just want to say that.” Magda wearily tossed a dishcloth into the sink.
“We can’t do anything about it if war comes.” David sighed and poured the spaghetti into a dish. “We can only pray it won’t come to that.”
“I’ve done nothing but pray since that bastard took power.” Magda threw up her hands. “I’m sorry. I hate talking like that.”
David kissed her cheek. “You never have to apologize to me.”
“Do you think Will and George…”
“If war comes, you know the answer to that. They’ll be taken.” David looked down at his hands.
“Pieter’s last letter was censored. I’m sure of it, but what he did say was careful. That madman has done terrible things to my country. I wonder if I’d even recognize Germany anymore.” Magda bit her lip and concentrated on her gravy.
The above excerpt and blurb are from LOVE AT WAR, Viola Russell’s WWII romance available on Amazon and http://www.redrosepublishing.com. Russell is a New Orleans native who writes as Viola Russell. She love delving into the past. Historical fiction is especially dear to her heart. LOVE AT WAR was her first foray into the historical genre, and she wrote it after reading letters her mother’s brothers sent home. She is happiest at my computer, writing with her dog at her side.
Click here for an interview with: Viola Russell, Author of “Love at War”