Published on : May, 2016
Publisher : Plainview Publications
Pages : 398
Source : Review copy received by Story Cartel
Format : Ebook
Rating : 3/5
To buy the book visit Amazon
Goodreads synopsis : Based on authentic letters from the era, My Darling Dorothy is a timeless love story that transcends both hard times and the brutal impact of war. The tumult of the Great Depression and World War II provides the background for a novel about three young people; Tommie, Jack and Dorothy and their challenges, struggles, defeats and triumphs.
Tommie struggles to survive the Bataan Death March in the fall of 1941, clinging to his dream of a gratifying future with Dorothy as his bride. On the frontlines of the European Theatre, Jack experiences the horrors of endless battle. Dorothy, caught between the two, works to maintain her dream of a life beyond small-town Nebraska.
The hopes and hardships they share are reflected in the letters that they exchange. Are they remnants of lost dreams, or the foundation for a joyful future?
My view : A book closely set in the time of the disastrous World War II, it offers us a glimpse of the way the atrocities affected lives of regular human beings. And among this remarkable backdrop we see love connections unfolding. The letters exchanged between Tommy and Dorothy and Jack and Dorothy are the backbone of this story.
The story starts with Jo, who accidentally finds some of her mother’s letters in a keep-sake box. Her mother, Dorothy, had a box to store all the little, priceless yet invaluable things from her life. This immediately reminded me of a friend who does the same. She stores bus tickets from a special day, wrappers of chocolates she got as a gift, even the first pen she used as a child. Therefore, I think Virden’s characters strike some familiarity and are relatable to some extent.
Dorothy met Jack when she was in high school and like any other normal love story they quickly fall for each other. (I am sure many people might find love stories a little boring but there is only so many other ways a love story can begin.) Both of them are free-spirited and want to travel the country. But due to inconvenient circumstances Jack has to move away and Dorothy is left behind. She is broken-hearted and Tommy comes into her life, like a fresh breeze, if only she felt the same way for him. The confusion and anticipation build up inside Dorothy as Tommy leaves to join the army and she is torn between the two men of her lives. With the fickleness of her mind and the story travelling back and forth the pages, we are left as confused as her. That makes me wonder if she could have made the characters a little more strong and indulging. There are many moments in the book that seems not well-captured to me and I am left wanting more from it.
The most attractive part of the book is the description of the war and the picturesque location. When Tommy goes to the Philippines and witnesses the mountains and the Pagsanjan Falls, I am left mesmerized. When he eats Chinese food for the first time, I giggle and when he suffers through the Bataan Death March, I gasp and worry myself to bits about his well being. Jack’s life throughout the war draws me and every monstrous consequence he has to face makes me weep. That is exactly why one must read ‘My Darling Dorothy’. Jo’s narration of the war and its effects are beautiful and stays with you long after you have put the book down.
Overall, the book would have been a lot more engaging without its minuscule flaws that a good editing would have resolved. Nevertheless, it was a great attempt on the author’s part and all those people, like me, who can not miss a single book written in the backdrop of the World War II, must absolutely read it.
Let me know what other books, on World War II, you have read and what you think about them.
Happy reading !
(The views expressed here are purely my own and have not been influenced by any external source)