Category: War Widow

Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. Crocker

Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was approached to read a different book than the one I asked to read, as the original choice the publicist made for me didn’t feel like a good fit, to be honest. I asked to receive “Those Who Remain” because I have a strong connection to the war eras as I regularly read war dramas and historical fiction set during this period; yet I do not often think to pick up a work of non-fiction that is connected to the eras. I was thankful I could step out of my comfort zone and read a creative non-fiction account set during the Vietnam War. I received a complimentary copy of the “Those Who Remain” direct from the publicist at Claire McKinney Public Relations, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why letters and correspondences interest me within a story of a war drama:

Oft-times letters and correspondences are all that will remain after a war between wives and husbands; daughters and fathers; sons and mothers, etc. as war is an uncertain time of unforeseeable tragedy. The words etched into postcards, pieces of paper or scribbled onto napkins or other bits of mail become a lasting tribute to not only the person who gave those words to their loved ones but to the receiver who knew a bit of their thoughts before they passed. Not everyone perishes at war, but for the families who lose their relatives, the sudden separation and the lack of a proper good-bye is mind-numbingly anguishing for many years.

When it comes to reading war dramas in fiction, I appreciate the writers who fuse history and fact into their stories, but also allow a breath of connection between those at the front and those back home. Finding letters caught inside the tethers of a war drama is one way to anchour me into that story because of how important those letters were in reality. I read quite a lot of war dramas per year, but I also appreciate certain tv serials who augment the same connections I find in their fictional counterparts such as Foyle’s War and As Time Goes By. The latter had the plot focused on a missing letter which was never delivered and thus, became the impetus of how a soldier and a nurse reunited years later in their golden years.

The novel which illuminated the necessity for correspondence at war the best, I felt, was Letters from Skye a novel writ around the letters themselves; taking me to a new vein of reality of how a novel can be told. Reviewing this novel twice was a way I could give the author a second note of gratitude for how convicting her story moved my emotional heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. CrockerThose Who Remain
Subtitle: Remembrance and Reunion After War
by Ruth W. Crocker
Source: Direct from Publisher

She was 23 years old when she was widowed by war and rather than bury her husband in his coffin, she buried every memory of their brief life together. Forty years later she exhumed the grave and came to terms with her loss and her grief.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013 writer-teacher-actress Ruth W. Crocker brings her journey of love, loss, and inspiration to the page in her beautiful memoir THOSE WHO REMAIN: Remembrance and Reunion after War (Elm Grove Press).

Sometimes the reaction to loss is anger along with the need to be reckless and to search for meaning in what has happened. In THOSE WHO REMAIN, Ruth W. Crocker was propelled by her complex emotions at the time. On the one hand she needed to close the door on her previous life, and on the other she wanted to pay tribute to her husband's memory and escape from her grief. To this end she hiked up to the treacherous North Face of the Eiger, the most notorious mountain in the Swiss Alps, to spread her husband's ashes at the top of the climb they were supposed to do together.

Weaving her beautifully-written recollections with diary entries, letters between her and her husband, and conversations with his comrades, Ruth gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who faced her fears and braved the forces of nature to learn that she could survive anything that came her way. A unique true story of grief and recovery with a surprising revelation, THOSE WHO REMAIN demonstrates the tenacious will of the human spirit to heal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940863009

Genres: Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, War Drama


Published by Elm Grove Press

on 13th May 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 294

Published by: Elm Grove Press 

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker, PhD, is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominated author, writing consultant, and expert on recovery from trauma and personal tragedy. Her memoir Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War describes her experience following her husband’s death in Vietnam and how she found resources for healing.

Crocker’s essays have been recognized in Best American Essays and her articles have been
featured in the Gettysburg Review, Grace Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, O-Dark-Thirty, and T.A.P.S. Magazine.

She received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bennington College, a PhD in Nutrition and Human Development from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Education from Tufts University. Along the way she also became a Registered Dietitian.

Crocker worked in health care administration and clinical nutrition before becoming a full-time writer. Currently, she is the Writer-In-Residence at Riverlight Wellness Center in Stonington, Connecticut, where she teaches the art of writing memoirs and personal essays to aspiring writers who want to express their own stories. She lives, cooks, and writes in Mystic, Connecticut.

Why the past (and the memories carried therein) can rekindle hope and our humanity’s will towards accepting grace:

There is a point in the story where Crocker mentions the true blessing of living histories (what my family refers to as the stories of our relatives and relations throughout our ancestral past) where we become tethered to our family through the living memories of people who lived before our own time. Sometimes these can be peppered with your living relatives recollections of their lives in the decades before your birth, but generally speaking, it’s a way to keep a tangible impression of your family’s journey through time refreshed and known for the generations who are coming down the line.

I appreciated these stories because they clarified a few finer points of the historical past where I found a bit of fault with lessons in school; as I was being given a wider picture than the option only to recount facts and tidbits someone else deemed worthy of my attention. In a conversation on Twitter earlier in 2015 (believe during #HistoricalFix; follow @HistoricalFix), it was mentioned that if historical fiction was taught in school (especially the authors of today or yesterday who conduct such impressive research to ground their stories) we would have a whole new appreciation for history as a whole. I tend to agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly because when the ‘past’ comes alive for me as I read a novel, it is a kind reminder of how much the past was ‘alive’ for me through the stories of my family. We have a need to make connections whilst we’re alive, it’s not only how we process information and keep a stronghold of knowledge vibrant and a part of who we are, it’s a way of how we internalise what we’re experiencing.

If we start to forget to share the stories, we will soon find ourselves without a path towards reacquiring the hope of where we’ve been and the joy of where we are about to venture forward next. Read More

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Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #NonFictionFriday, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Claire McKinney Public Relations, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Indie Author, Memoir, Military Families of the Deployed, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Quakers, Special Needs Children, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The Vietnam War, Travel the World in Books, War Widow, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment

Blog Book Tour | “A Dangerous Place” {11th release of the Maisie Dobbs series} by Jacqueline Winspear

Posted Thursday, 19 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on “A Dangerous Place” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I requested and borrowed the first novel (“Maisie Dobbs”) as well as the entire series to better understand the flow of continuity and the origins of the Maisie Dobbs series of which I borrowed via my local library.

Unfortunately, due to time and circumstance, I only read portions of “Maisie Dobbs” (the first novel) for the blog tour and was not obligated to post a review for it. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher HarperCollins Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Reflections on behalf of “Maisie Dobbs”: the first of the series:

Prior to soaking inside A Dangerous Place, I wanted to acquaint myself with who Maisie Dobbs was behind the series which has become a benchmark of cosy historical mysteries with a formidable lead female investigating unique scenarios whilst breaking out of station and class circles in an era of time where women did not quite have the full freedoms they have in today’s modern world. On paper, Maisie Dobbs was a young girl of thirteen who entered into service at the bequest of her father after her mother’s tragic death; a choice to choose between a life of poverty and a chance to make a mark on the world on her own terms. Her father’s love for his daughter was without bounds as he wanted to give her everything she deserved but simply could not afford on his costermonger wages.

She was under tutelage of a prominent private investigator until the Great War erupted and changed life as everyone knew it to be prior to World War I. During the war, Maisie took up her role as a nurse, seeing as much of the battlefields as she dared felt she could survive handling as she nursed the men who came into her wards; the wounds they carried were only half seen to the naked eye, but felt more intuitively by the heart and conscience. This is an ability she carried through to her sleuthing years, as after the Armistice she settled herself into the role she had meant to take-on prior to war: private investigations, continuing the legacy of her tutor Maurice Blanche whilst her benefactor at arms, Lady Rowan is his wife; a close confident of Maisie, and guiding light to her affairs.

Maisie Dobbs might have had a tragic situation take her formative years for a shock, but it was how she was determined to rise out of the ashes of where her childhood ended and lay claim to a future she could not only become proud of but prove to her father she would survive anything life threw at her, Maisie Dobbs found an unusual alliance in the couple (Maurice Blanche & Lady Rowan) whose house gave her a position in service. You could say, she had a guardian angel looking out for her and giving her what she needed at the times in which she needed everything the most. This cocoon of acceptance and support, is what gave her the foundation she needed before and after the Great War.

Maisie was tutored by a man who appreciated sociology and the observations on how the conditions of being human are not limited to psychology and environment. The whole of a person’s being is rooted half by our humanity and half through the experiences of our lives. The best investigator who has a compassionate conscience towards the well-being of both her clients and the people of whom she is investigating will walk the line between where ethics and justice merge together. A direct reflection upon the good of how information can affect a life or how information can subtract a negative result out of a grievance or misunderstanding therein. There are always two sides to every pence, thereby giving two sides of a revelation sparked out of a keen intellect whose deduction extends past the obvious and digs deeper in the heart and conscience. Maisie Dobbs is one such investigator who strives to find a balance between seeking the truth and using the truth to set people free.

Maisie articulates her conscience in her reactions to what happens when her observations deposit her into another person’s reality. The way in which she fuses her own being to that of her observant party is a keen tip of insight on behalf of Winspear, that Maisie likes to study people from the inside out. She formulates an impression on them whilst seeking the truth they might not even realise they are revealing bit by bit in appearance, personality, and countenance.

Winspear allows a beautiful open dialogue between Maisie and her mentor Maurice, through the conversations Maisie brings forward to mind as she wrestles out the best method to unravell the fabric of truth from the moving mirrors of shadows which attempt to forestall what she is uncovering from being brought to light. The past does not always want to be let out in the open nor revealed to all parties who make enquiries. The war plays a key role in eluding to a history that doesn’t quite want to be recollected nor does it want to remain forever silent; no, some ghosts are hard to quell but must be willed back into the conscience of the present.

This first novel of the series, takes us forwards and backwards through where we meet Maisie Dobbs at the jump-start of her new career as a private eye to the myriad past of her benefactor Lady Rowan and how her life intersects with Maisie; giving depth and a level of back-story that draws your eye forward into the text with such a wanton hope of finding more about the characters whom you warm to instantly from having met them a quarter of a novel ago. You are dedicated to their stories because they are openly sharing their life and world with you from page one. It is as if you were a part of their inside circle, privy to their internal thoughts and the intimate moments wherein they share the bits they might think are outside of view.

Blog Book Tour | “A Dangerous Place” {11th release of the Maisie Dobbs series} by Jacqueline WinspearA Dangerous Place
by Jacqueline Winspear
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Maisie Dobbs returns in a powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy: a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gibraltar leads the investigator into a web of lies, deceit, and danger.

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability—and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England: her aging father, Frankie Dobbs, is not getting any younger.

On a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn't ready to return. Against the wishes of the captain who warns her, "You will be alone in a most dangerous place," she disembarks in Gibraltar. Though she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain.

And the danger is very real. Days after Maisie's arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue on "the Rock"—arguably Britain's most important strategic territory—and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: Maisie Dobbs,


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by Harper Books

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Pages: 320

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

The Maisie Dobbs series: {info on series}

Maisie Dobbs

Birds of a Feather

Pardonable Lies

Messenger of Truth

An Incomplete Revenge

Among the Mad

The Mapping of Love and Death

A Lesson in Secrets

Elegy for Eddie

Leaving Everything Most Loved

*A Most Dangerous Place

Available FormatsHardback, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: #MaisieDobbs

About Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other national bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels.

Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book.


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Posted Thursday, 19 March, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Geographically Specific, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, India, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Library Find, Library Love, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Loss of an unbourne child, Mental Health, Nurses & Hospital Life, PTSD, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, the Thirties, The World Wars, TLC Book Tours, War Widow

+Book Review+ Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear #Contemporary story grounded in #realistic fiction.

Posted Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Parajunkee Designs

Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Official Author Websites@marymcnear | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Ebook

Converse via: #ButternutLakeSeries & #UpAtButternutLake

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Butternut Summer” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. Realising this was a second novel within a series, I requested a copy of the first novel “Up at Butternut Lake” in order to understand the continuity of the characters & the story. I received a complimentary copy of the novel direct from the publisher William Morrow without an obligation to post a review. Whereas I received a complimentary copy of “Butternut Summer” direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

Stories of second chances have always held fast to my heart, as life has this beautiful way of giving us a bit more than we’re expecting it to yield most of the time. The idea that there are ways to have a renewal of our lives through a second chance or a new beginning elsewhere from whence we are currently has a very alluring appeal! I have been an appreciator of Contemporary Romance & Contemporary Women’s Fiction for a good 20 years now, as I snuggled into a fierce appreciation for Debbie MacComber originally when I first started noticing both of these genres. Sherryl Woods followed 15 years later when I discovered the small towne of Serenity, and the series the Sweet Magnolias (although I personally refer to that series as ‘Serenity’). MacComber’s Angel series drew me into her narrative arcs, followed closely by the Cedar Cove series and Blossom Street; as I appreciated her style of story and the homespun sincerity of her characters. Being that both MacComber & Woods are going to have series based off their novels on the Hallmark Channel within the next year or so, humbles me a bit as I have this history of discovering both authors ahead of their newfound popularity. I even knew Debbie MacComber’s works would find a home on Hallmark Channel, but that’s a story for another time, perhaps!

I had started to curate a List on Riffle entitled: Contemporary Romances : Returning back to the Modern Era as I wanted to walk back into an area of literature I have started to negate reading. When I first had the opportunity to have a library card after a considerable absence, my checkout queue looked quite hyperactively complied! I simply couldn’t wait to grab this or that novel, and try this or that author! I started so many wicked awesome series by new-to-me authors, I have a list a mile long of ‘next reads’ to continue the happiness I had begun five years ago! Then, I started to shift my wanderings a bit, exploring new genres and/or committing to new styles of the craft of storytelling itself. My wanderings are always a bit decidedly serendipitous in their nature, but as much as I have a niche for being addicted to the historical past, I am equally entranced by the modern era!

I may or may not have highlighted my joy of giving back to deployed servicemen & women as much as I have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work they give whilst they dedicate their lives to others. Military fiction was a branch of literature I was attracted too as a young teen, and likewise, my passion for watching JAG, NCIS, NCIS: LA, & NCIS: NOLA originated out of my love of Jack Ryan stories (by Tom Clancy). Hallmark Channel has a lovely Romance with Lori Loughlin entitled: Meet My Mom of which I loved for bringing a realistic story to their offerings and shining a positive  light on today’s military families.

As soon as I read the book synopsis, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to read both of these novels, whilst being wicked happy the third novel: Moonlight on Butterlake releases in 2015!

+Book Review+ Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear #Contemporary story grounded in #realistic fiction.Up at Butternut Lake
by Mary McNear
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, Mary McNear introduces readers to the town of Butternut Lake and to the unforgettable people who call it home.

It’s summer, and after ten years away, Allie Beckett has returned to her family’s cabin beside tranquil Butternut Lake, where as a teenager she spent so many carefree days. She’s promised her five-year-old son, Wyatt, they will be happy there. She’s promised herself this is the place to begin again after her husband’s death in Afghanistan. The cabin holds so many wonderful memories, but from the moment she crosses its threshold Allie is seized with doubts. Has she done the right thing uprooting her little boy from the only home he’s ever known?

Allie and her son are embraced by the townsfolk, and her reunions with old acquaintances—her friend Jax, now a young mother of three with one more on the way, and Caroline, the owner of the local coffee shop—are joyous ones. And then there are newcomers like Walker Ford, who mostly keeps to himself—until he takes a shine to Wyatt . . . and to Allie.

Everyone knows that moving forward is never easy, and as the long, lazy days of summer take hold, Allie must learn to unlock the hidden longings of her heart, and to accept that in order to face the future she must also confront—and understand—what has come before.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: Butternut Summer, Interview with Mary McNear, Moonlight on Butternut Lake

Series: Butternut Lake, Butternut Lake Trilogy


Also in this series: Butternut Summer, Moonlight on Butternut Lake


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945)


Published by William Morrow

on 8th April, 2014

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 400

Author Biography:

Mary McNear
Photo Credit:
Amelia Kennedy

Mary McNear lives in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Picking up the pieces : from loss & tribulations:

One of the hardest obstacles about living our lives forward without the benefit of understanding the events that will take place in the future, is being able to dig deep into our wells of strength and fortitude to accept the hope that our lives will start to turn back around. The thematics which are strongly represented in Up at Butternut Lake are an evolving exploration of Change (questions of destiny, permanence, and stability – of not only the mind, heart, and spirit but the physical locale of where your life will be lived); where each character who takes a central focus is at a turning point in their lives. Where they can choose to move forward and let go of the past that is weighing them down, or they can continue as they are without moving forward at all.

The complaisance’s of life arise out of the complexities of a cobweb’s worth of lies, spun innocently enough at the time they are created but woven into the texture of your life can become a haunting self-reminder of how untruthful of a life you’re actually living. Within the thematics of the story, this kernel of truth is an underscore that affects different characters in different ways, as the lies we tell ourselves to recover from something we feel we cannot face head-on are just as damaging as the lies which remain unspoken or proven untrue through the wrinkles of time itself.

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Posted Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Review (non-blog tour), Child out of Wedlock, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Life Shift, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, Minnesota, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Scribd, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, TLC Book Tours, War Widow, Widows & Widowers