Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors. Self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with the marketing, I’m happy to do it. Below is a review of Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney. This is the heartbreaking story of a mother whose sons went off to war, and some of them did not return.
This is a heartbreaking look back at the real lives and losses of the family of Clabe and Leora Wilson, who were tenant farmers with seven living children at the start of the story. The prologue begins with the living family members putting flowers on the graves for “decoration day,” and we learn that they lost three sons and brothers in World War II. Photos and biographies of the Wilsons’ seven children who had lived to adulthood are also included. I had first gotten to know Leora’s family by reading book two, Leora’s Dexter Stories, which is a prequel. Leora and Clabe had already lost three of their ten children in infancy, and it broke my heart to see their additional loss and suffering in Leora’s Letters. In all, the Wilsons lost six of their ten children, three of them during World War II. But this is not just about loss. This is about a family that worked very hard to survive and always supported each other no matter what. The letters they all wrote to each other throughout the war are a testament to that love and support, as well as the closeness they all enjoyed.
Through their actual letters, we follow these sons and the entire family as the war progresses. And we see not only separation and suffering, but we witness the remaining family members doing backbreaking work, with the majority of their efforts going to the people who actually owned the farm. It is a testament to the way life was back then for working men and women. But this book is also about love and perseverance in the midst of all of the pain. It is a well-researched account of some of the significant events of World War II, and it will transport you back in time to the bloodiest war in history where over 60 million people died. Ultimately, it will introduce you to a loving and remarkable American farming family that made the ultimate sacrifice over and over and over again.
The research and writing of Joy Neal Kidney, and her willingness to share her family story with the world, are to be commended.
I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(In her own words) I am the keeper of family stories, letters, pictures, research, combat records, casualty reports, and terrible telegrams. Active on several history and military Facebook pages, I help administer local ones–Audubon County, Dallas County, and Guthrie County, Iowa–the places where my motherline stories originated, as well as Depression Era Iowa.
Born two days before D-Day to an Iowa farmer who became an Army Air Corps pilot, then an instructor–with orders for combat when the war ended–and an Iowa waitress who lost three of her five brothers during that war. I spent my childhood in an Iowa farmhouse with a front porch. Now I live with my husband, a Vietnam veteran, in a suburban house with a front porch.
I’ve published two books (“Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” and “Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.”) I’m a regular contributor to Our American Stories.
My review of Leora’s Dexter Stories is here
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