In this age of email, text messages, Facebook, and twitter, the art of letter writing has almost disappeared. But in the early 1900s letters were the main way to communicate over long distances. In my latest novel, A Refuge at Highland Hall, which set in 1915 in England and France, the hero and heroine exchange several letters while they are separated by the events of World War One. Developing their romance through letters was a fun and unique challenge for me as an author.
Penny Ramsey is a wealthy young woman who longs to do her part in the war effort, but she must help her sister care for a group of orphaned children they’ve taken to their family’s country estate to escape the bombings in London. Alex Goodwin, a brave British pilot, is stationed in France and draws strength from Penny’s letters between his missions, chasing German Zeppelins and trying not to get shot down out of the sky.
Penny’s letters also provided a tie to home and much needed comfort for Alex. Receiving her letters and packages lifted his spirit and gave him courage to press on. Alex’s letters to Penny helped her understand more about his experiences and know how to pray for him and his squadron.
More than 12 million letters and packages were sent from Britain to the troops serving overseas in World War One each week! It was a huge operation that cost a great deal of money, but British government officials knew those letters and packages were important to maintain the troop’s morale.
Learning more about those World War One letters and packages was so interesting! What did the troops like to receive? They appreciated newspapers from their hometown, magazines, chocolate, tea, candy, socks, scarves, and photographs of family and friends. Trench cake, a sturdy fruit-laced recipe, was sent to give the men a special treat. Libraries often held book drives to collect books to be sent to the troops.
When I traveled to England in 2014 the country was preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of World War One. In the museum gift shops I found copies of letters and diaries written during that time, and they illustrated the dramatic events and struggles that impacted so many people . . . and the characters and plot for A Refuge at Highland Hall came to life in my imagination.
Can a letter, penned in love, really bring two people together and help them form a lasting bond? You’ll find the answer when you read A Refuge at Highland Hall!
A Refuge at Highland Hall is book 3 in the Edwardian Brides Series. Author Melanie Dobson says: “In a Refuge at Highland Hall, master storyteller Carrie Turansky weaves together another beautifully written tale of courage, hope, and love. Her story swept me back to the streets of London and then on to France during the World War 1. I love reading historical fiction, and it was a joy to learn so much about the era through the endearing Ramsey family. A Refuge at Highland Hall is a powerful conclusion to the Edwardian Brides Series.”
Until next time, Happy Reading,