Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Home and Away" by Dean Hughes

Home and Away:
A World War II Christmas Story
by Dean Hughes

Home and Away is currently on tour with I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. The tour stops here today for my review and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but this year it is going to be difficult. Money is tight, and wartime rationing is taking its toll as well. Harder still, her oldest son, Glen, is on the front lines of the battle in Europe.
Glen Hayes wants nothing more than to be home for Christmas. He holds a sprig of lavender in his pocket. The scent reminds him of his mother. The memory of home may be the only thing that is keeping him alive and sane during the horrors of war.
Dennis Hayes is sixteen and longs to see his older brother again. He also longs to have a relationship with his father, but most important, Dennis is determined to buy something special for his mother this Christmas – the one gift he feels certain she deserves.
So many families have had their hopes dashed in World War II. Will the Hayes family make it through?

It was 1944 and Glen, Dennis's big brother, was with the army's 101st Airborne Division, fighting in Europe. When the last letter had come from Glen - almost two weeks ago - he had been at the battlefront in Holland. Newspapers were reporting heavy casualties among the Allied forces there. Linda and Sharon didn't entirely understand the danger, but Dennis did, and he feared every day that bad news might come.
The kitchen was warmer than it really needed to be, but it was cozy, and Dennis loved the smell of turkey and the pies-and baked bread. He had eaten too much, of course, but he wasn't going to stop until he had a slice of each pie. Over on the kitchen cabinet, the radio was softly playing. A big band was performing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." The local station in Ogden, Utah, had begun to play Christmas music that day. When Linda began to sing the words to the song, Dad finally seemed to notice, and he groaned. "They start earlier every year," he said. "The stores must pay the radio station to play that stuff. That's all Christmas is now-a chance to boost sales."
It was what Dad said every year. But Mom loved Christmas, and she did all she could to make the holidays nice.

Praise for the Book
"It’s 1944 and teenager Dennis Hayes longs to join his older brother Glen, who is fighting in Europe. When his family receives word that Glen has been wounded, Dennis realizes that going to war is not so glamorous. Christmas isn’t the same without Glen, but the Hayes family members hope and pray that they’ll be reunited soon. Hughes’s faith-filled, old-fashioned story feels like it could have been written during the period in which it takes place." ~ Library Journal
"Home and Away is far and away the best story I have read this year. Awesome and moving." ~ Bestselling author, Obert Skye
"This book is an amazing story of love, Christmas, and charity. I loved reading this book, and I know you will too!" ~ My Book A Day
"The twists and turns in Home and Away create the drama that makes this book so hard to put down. It will remind you that on the other side of your gun is another soldier whose mother is praying that her son comes back whole and uninjured too." ~ Kathryn svendsen
"This story is one that will make you appreciate your family more, your freedoms, and those who are in the military. [...] This book shows the many miracles and gifts that can be found, especially at this time of year. This book is so heart warming that it is the perfect family read-aloud for this Christmas. I know that is exactly what I'm planning on doing this December." ~ S. Staley

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
The year is 1944. Alternating chapters switch between the stories of Glen Hayes, who is away in Holland fighting with the 101st Airborne Division, and his brother Dennis (sixteen), who is at home in Ogden, Utah, with his mother Norma, his father, and his sisters Linda (nine) and Sharon (six).
The story is quite graphic in its descriptions of the harsh realities of war on the front. Glen has to deal with the boredom, inclement weather, and the lack of food, and he is resigned to the fact that he will never see his family again. His one solace is the scent of lavender, which reminds him of his mother and home. With Christmas Day looming, there is no sign of respite for Glen and his battalion.
Back at home, Dennis wants to do something nice for his mother for Christmas and dreams of buying her the beautiful lavender dress in the window of the expensive clothing store. He works extra hours to earn enough money to buy it, but things become complicated when he starts going out with Judy Kay and finds he now has even more expenses. Meanwhile, he has to deal with his gruff father, who never apologizes or expresses love.
While both brothers struggle with their own battles, they each place their faith in God's plan and are willing to accept whatever happens. This is a heart warming story of love, sacrifice, family, and faith.

Some of My Favorite Lines
"You come in here all soft-spoken and full of love for your mother, and then you figure out a way to tell me what a louse I am."
"War changes people, and usually not for the good. Stay out of it if you possibly can."
"Their lips touched, and Dennis realized he had never experienced perfection until that moment."
"But at the moment there was nothing to fight except this cold, and it was winning."

About the Author
Dean Hughes is a bestselling and prolific writer who published his hundredth book in 2014. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Weber State College and master’s degree and PhD from the University of Washington. He has attended post-doctoral seminars at Stanford and Yale Universities and taught English at Central Missouri State University and Brigham Young University.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.