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“Virginia’s War written by Groom native

Novel is finalist for Best Southern Fiction category

Jack Woodville London claims he never gives the same answer twice about why he wroteVirginia’s War the first book his French Letters trilogy.

“World War II was a turning point in history. If we don’t keep track of our veterans, we lose the cause and effect of the war,” he said recently at a reading in Amarillo.

“People didn’t know much about what was going on in other parts of the world,” he said. “Many didn’t know there was a Pearl Harbor until it was attacked.”

A native of Groom, London uses his knowledge of the Panhandle to create the fictional town of Tierra, located in West Texas a few miles east of the New Mexico border at Clovis.

Virginia’s War details life on the homefront in 1944 as seen through the inhabitants of the small town run by the newspaper owner, Michael Sullivan. The editor dictates just about every aspect of life in Tierra, including putting his son in as postmaster and his daughter in charge of rationing stamps at the onset of the war.

When Sullivan discovers his daughter, Virginia, is pregnant, he places an announcement in the paper stating she and Captain Will Hastings had eloped prior to the young soldier being shipped overseas. Everyone is surprised about the elopement, but none more than Virginia herself who has not yet told anyone she is pregnant. As Tierra’s official first War Bride, Virginia must now set about informing her baby’s father they are “married” and learn how to be a good housewife whether she wants to or not.

Virginia’s War explores accomplishments in medicine that grew from caring for the troops. One result was American life expectancy rates doubled with the advent of Penicillin and new importance given to clean drinking water.

London’s debut novel is a 2009 finalist in the Best Southern Fiction category for the Willie Morris Award and for the Military Writer’s Society of America’s Best Historical Fiction of the Year.”

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