Molly Martin, The Compulsive Reader

“London has crafted an intriguing tale filled with rich details, fully fleshed characters and plenty of twists and turns to satisfy the reader who enjoys character focused historical fiction. From the prologue to last page the reader is kept turning the page to learn what will happen next.

Jack Woodville London’s French Letters: Engaged in War Normandy 1944, is the second book in the French Letters trilogy. Beginning with a distressed woman in the prologue; the reader begins to feel some of the stress washing over Shirley. The telephone call she has received stirs long quiet memories of a man named Will, a woman named Virginia and many years between then and now.

On board a landing ship loaded with tanks, guns and medical crews on the way across the English Channel; the narrative begins June, 1944, with an unheard discussion of the aerodynamics of a Duncan yo-yo in flight. The men on board the landing ship would be the first medics a wounded soldier would see when he got on the ramp. They would assess his condition and get him to a triage doctor.

Within a span of a few lines of text; the scene is set by a hardnosed major with a yen for revenge coupled to a God complex regarding real or imagined slights rendered by those under his command. Army Doctor, Will Hastings, Captain, has managed to get himself on the Major’s list. And, so has a young medic.

Will is soon enmeshed in the Normandy D-Day landings and the push to capture St. Lo, France. Cut off from Virginia Sullivan (book 1 of the series) and the incidents in progress at home; stresses of Will’s responsibilities caused by combat surgery under fire are heightened with losses of his brother, his friends, and his connection to home.
 London brings together a riveting, well written novel continuing the narrative of the home front taking place in a small Texas town on the pages of Virginia’s War as combat raged across the sea.

Engaged in War relates the chronicle of Captain Will Hastings and his experience as an Army surgeon on the European front both prior to and following the D-Day arrival of Allied troops.

Historically precise and specific to the events of the era presented in volume 1, Engaged in War is a tale delineating the strength of the will to survive despite the horror of combat, space, death of loved ones, and even uncertainty regarding the future. And, it is a tale delineating the power of home and caring despite the seeming impossibility of return to normalcy separating families past supposed snapping point.

Leaving home and sweethearts has long been a part of the lives of military personnel. London continues to hone his panache, forwarding a highly lucid and agreeable storyline. While not a war story per se; it is through Will Hastings readers are introduced to personal experiences of many of our own relatives; the WWII soldier serving in Europe during that tumultuous time. The return to supposed normalcy and home is not always easy.
The turmoil Hastings faces torn between saving lives along with trying to learn more concerning his brother’s death are portrayed with all the angst, stress and anxiety as might be expected. As a doctor, Hastings is dedicated to saving as many lives as feasible. However, the constraints placed on a doctor in time of war often cause the practice of medicine to be quite different than that taking place in a civilian venue.

London has crafted an intriguing tale filled with rich details, fully fleshed characters and plenty of twists and turns to satisfy the reader who enjoys character focused historical fiction. From the prologue to last page the reader is kept turning the page to learn what will happen next.”

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