Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
This #Epistolary novel captured my attention recently, as I’ve been seeking out more stories evoking ‘letters & correspondences’ for quite a long while now! You might have seen my ruminative thoughts on behalf of Last Christmas in Paris? Whilst previously, you might have seen my happy tweeting and my thoughts on behalf of my beloved Skye? (ie. Letters from Skye!) Or, perhaps – you caught sight of a debut Non-Fiction release this year, entitled: Dennis & Greer: A Love Story? You see, I have a particular penchant for these kinds of stories – not just in Historical Fiction, mind you – nor for the focus to be on war dramas, as my love of ‘3000 Miles to Eternity’ will attest!
What I found so very intriguing about ‘Becoming Mrs Smith’ is how the story is crafted through a succession of novellas! As you might also be aware of – I have a particular interest in reading short stories and novellas – generally, I’ve approached them through one of my two favourite genres: Romance & Speculative Literature (ie. Science Fiction, Fantasy or Cosy Horror) – however, I am finding more authors are releasing novellas and/or shorts – either as accompaniments to their novels directly or as stand-alone arcs for new series and/or an extension of a character’s story from a novel without a series in which to carry the story-line forward. In this case, what is uniquely lovely – the novellas are the series!
I like uncovering new formats for serial fiction – series are a lovely lifeblood of their own – something I cannot pass up the chance to read, as one blessing with a series is how long you get to extend your stay inside the world the writer has knitted together for you! You get to carry the load with the characters, of feeling everything they do as events and memories unfold – whilst feeling as if you, yourself have become drafted into their shoes, fully aware and absorbing their lives.
As I read the premise behind ‘Becoming Mrs Smith’ – my first instinct was to request this story for review purposes – however, realising it was a Digital First release – I opted instead to host the author for a conversation whilst I sought out how to engage in the story-line to help introduce this debut novelist to you, my readers. Perhaps like me, this is an interest of your own – seeking out the stories crafted out of ‘letters & correspondences’ or perhaps, your simply game for a new war drama! Either way, I hope you’ve brewed yourself a cuppa and are ready to settle in for our convo!
Becoming Mrs Smith
Not all of war’s destruction takes place on the battlefield.
Violet’s heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry. America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain she won’t ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as she knows it, crumbles.
Becoming Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a woman’s struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves, and childhood illness weakened her heart—perhaps beyond repair. While guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more devastating.
Places to find the book:
on 3rd October, 2017
Excerpt from ‘Becoming Mrs Smith’ provided by the author Tanya E. Williams and is being used with permission.
The walls of the old farmhouse quiver. Thump. Thump. Thump. The sound reverberates inside of me with each strike against our solid oak door. My insides shake like a ground tremor. Until now, I couldn’t have believed my body could shake any more brutally. This cruel and ruthless fever has vibrated inside of me since before yesterday’s sunrise. Doc Walton and his hammer, the cause of all the commotion, have traveled from Cedar Springs. He has since confirmed Mother’s fears. Scarlet fever has attacked our home and invaded my slight, now fragile body. The notice nailed to the front door is both a proclamation of quarantine and a warning. Those who enter or leave the Sanderson property will be reported and punished by South Dakota law.
At eleven years old, I’m not keen to lift my nightdress for the doctor. Mother’s stern gaze, which bores through me from the corner of the bedroom I share with Iris, tells me refusing is not an option. My skin, warm to the touch, shivers as air whispers across the tiny red bumps. The doctor listens to my heart with his instrument, the round metal end cold from winter frost, before he lowers my bedclothes and tucks me into bed. He murmurs to himself as he pats my shoulder and smiles sadly, before the latch on his black bag snaps shut.
As two of your characters inspired you to tell their stories in two separate novellas, how do these novellas prepare the reader for reading the novel they are anchoured too? What can you tell us about the novel which is the third half of the total story?
Williams responds: Becoming Mrs. Smith and Stealing Mr. Smith (both novellas) allow the reader a deeper view into what motivates these two important female characters in John Smith’s life. Both Violet and Bernice are center stage in John’s life, at different times, and their actions and decisions have a direct affect on how John’s life unfolds.
The final novel in the series, A Man Called Smith will bring the perspective of the story back to John, allowing the reader a global view of his life, his decisions, what haunts him, and what he learns to accept. Essentially, John is defined by these two strong and unique women and he ends up living his life as a result of those definitions.
A Man Called Smith, was where the story started for me. As a writer, I had a desire to answer the question, “What if it is not the choices we make in life that alter the outcome of our life’s path? What if it is instead, the choices that we do not make, the ones we are afraid of, the ones that torture us, threatening our existence and stealing from us along the way? What if those are the moments that truly define us as an individual?” John is a likable character. He is soft spoken and kind yet his life takes a detour and in the end he must live with those consequences. Read More