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Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review: Ohio Brides, a trilogy of novellas by Cara Putman

This trilogy by Cara Putman is a sweet collection of World War II novellas about the three grown children of Louis and Marjorie Miller of Dayton, Ohio, and their paths to and/or through matrimony. No bone-shaking suspense, unless you count a guy who tries to lead Josephine's guy astray, a decoding machine that stubbornly refuses to be fixed, or wondering if a girl will be a baseball heroine or the team pariah.

The first novella, A Promise Kept, begins with Josephine (Josie) Miller and Arthur (Art) Wilson at their wedding. Art accepts a position as an accountant for a company in Cincinnati, and they move there immediately. Marriage, even between people deeply in love, never runs entirely smooth. Not long after their are married, Josie gets pregnant, but loses the baby and plunges into a depression. Art grieves, too, but for a shorter time. Temptation awaits in the new office, but not from a woman. Instead, it's a man who seems determined to introduce Art to the world of wine and women. A distant cousin in England asks Josie and Art to allow her 8-year-old daughter to live with them until Europe is safer. And Art's demanding Grandfather buys the company he works for. I tell ya, it's enough to keep a gal reading all night.

The second novella, A Promise Born, finds Mark Miller trying to solve the problems of Adam, a seldom-working machine designed to decode German documents. Mark is a civilian engineer working in such a top-secret environment that the owner and the Admiral in charge would not even tell the Selective Service that Mark should not be sent off to war. Evelyn Happ, also an engineer, is a member of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services), but they put her to work with dozens of other women making parts for machines. She yearns to work on Adam instead of the mindless work she's doing. Mark finds himself attracted to the lovely Evelyn, but won't allow himself to fall in love (like he could help it!) with a woman who isn't a Christian. With all these problems and others weaving themselves around Mark and Evelyn, it's a wonder anything ever works out. But it does, of course!

The third Novella, A Promise Forged, provides the romancing of Katherine (Kat) Miller by a disgruntled reporter, Jack Raymond. Kat has been selected to play for the popular women's professional baseball teams. The schedule is grueling for the ladies on the teams, and they are expected to push to sell war bonds. Jack, a sports reporter, has been assigned the boring job of reporting on this fledgling sport. He decides to make Kat, the youngest and cutest on her team, into the heroine, which doesn't make her or her teammates happy. An overly vigilant chaperon for the ladies misinterprets everything Kat does. Poor Kat is in trouble more often than not. For a short three-month season, her adventures threaten to burst the bounds of this trilogy. And no, I'm not telling you the end of this one either.

Happy reading, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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