When Valleys Bloom Again

This week, Pat Jeanne Davis pays us a visit with her World War II novel. When Valleys Bloom Again. I can relate to her visit to England! Pat is offering a free e-book to a commenter.

I’ve had a keen interest in the WWII period, hoping to some day write a faith based novel with an Anglo-American connection. As the ranks of those who lived through those dark days grows smaller, I wanted to highlight their lives in an instructive and entertaining way. When Valleys Bloom Again unfolds through the eyes of Abby Stapleton from an estate on Philadelphia’s Main Line with its landscaped gardens, to the bombed-out inner-city and suburbs of London to the battlefield in North Africa and Normandy. 

I enjoyed doing research for When Valleys Bloom Again.I talked with those who lived during the WWII era and also had the opportunity to ask questions of veterans in the U.S. and U.K., then in their mid-90’s, who were willing to share their experiences and their photographs. I enjoyed traveling to distant and unfamiliar places. I visited living museums in England where people went about their tasks in 1940’s clothing. The guides were always helpful and eager to share what they had learned. I’m happy when I uncover an extra special tidbit of information that will enhance my story. 

On one research trip, I went into the largest purpose-built civilian WWII air raid shelter in England that was extended to accommodate 6,500 people. The Stockport Air Raid Shelter is a network of underground tunnels a mile long, carved out of the sandstone hills on which the city stands. These provided not only protection but a way of life for families. This underground world, still intact today, gave me an opportunity to learn about the raw realities of life during the Blitz. I came away with a deep admiration for my husband’s family and others who struggled to live with only the basic amenities in such depressing and stressful surroundings. In When Valleys Bloom Again, my heroine’s parents are forced to take shelter in the London Underground during an air attack.

There are lots of ways I choose characters’ names. At times I pull from a book I read, a film or documentary, or maybe someone I’ve known. In my debut novel, I used my great-grandfather’s full name, but added an “e” on the end of his surname. He immigrated to the United States, as had Uncle Will, the lovable secondary character in my novel. 

I attempt to give my reader a story that reveals God’s overruling providence through all of life’s experiences and that with our confidence in God and submission to His will, we can be hopeful and steadfast in purpose, trusting in His promise that all things work together for good. In When Valleys Bloom Again,my heroine, Abby, frequently reminds herself of this promise after she is uprooted from London due to impending war and forced to return to a country far from her family and the life she’s become accustomed to.


PAT JEANNE DAVIS  has a keen interest in 20thCentury United States and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Her longtime interest in that era goes back to the real-life stories she heard about family members who served during the war. When Valleys BloomAgainis a debut inspirational romance set in WWII. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her British-born husband.  She writes from her home n Philadelphia, Pa. Pat has published essays, short stories and articles online and in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Please visit her at https://www.patjeannedavis.com 

When Valleys Bloom Again 

A Wartime Romance Set On Two Continents

by Pat Jeanne Davis


            After fleeing impending war in England, nineteen-year-old Abby Stapleton works to correct her stammer and to become a teacher in America, only to discover this conflict        has no boundaries and that a rejected suitor is intent on destroying her name, fiancé,        and fragile faith.

Book Cover Description When Valleys Bloom Again:

As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat.Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes.Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home?With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible.Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too?Then Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind.Did she have a sweetheart in England?Was it foolish to think she’d consider him?He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him.Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S.Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence.Will she discover the true meaning of home?


When Valleys Bloom Again can be purchased here: Amazon.com

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Courage in Tense Times

The wife of our President during World War II encouraged people worried about the terrible state of the word and their loved ones fighting overseas. She said, take courage.

How do we “take courage”? First, we must still our overwrought hearts. Sometimes historical facts aid in this effort.

Every era has its challenges, but consider this: sixteen million Americans served overseas in WWII. Two million of these served in Europe in order to stop the murderous surge of Naziism. In 1945, of a population of 140 million, roughly 11% of all Americans fought on foreign soil. (In Iraq, only about 1% of all Americans served.) 

Our nation is experiencing lots of tension now, but what if our husbands, sons, and brothers were in harm’s way? Or our daughters, as nurses, jjoined the troops in their invasions? 

Knowing our history helps us keep PERSPECTIVE…and in times like this, we need all the perspective we can get. So why not spend some time reviewing the incredible World War II era, when Americans rose up en masse to serve each other and our nation?

Stilling our hearts…taking courage…a great idea for our time!

Thrifty Research Treasures

It’s downright amazing what you can find at the thrift store. Yesterday I had so much fun claiming these booklets about cooking from World War II.

Full of tasty recipes and helpful suggestions for wartime women “stuck” with the rigors of rationing, these leaflets must have found a welcome in many an American kitchen.

Then, digging deeper, viola! Now this next gem really struck my fancy…

If you were researching how America’s eating habits changed during World War Ii, wouldn’t you be happy too? (:

So that’s how it goes these days….research, research, research. So many fun facts to discover–I never tire of learning something new about this era in our nation’s history.

In the meantime, the final, final, FINAL edit of In Times Like These has been returned to my publisher and any moment now, a purchase link will appear. Truly.

It’s likely Addie and her friend Jane received one of these booklets and devoured the contents in their efforts to comply with wartime standards. yep!

ADDITION: The e-book links for IN TIMES LIKE THESE have arrived!! The hardcover/paperback will soon be added:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084WV6HFY Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-times-like-these-gail-kittleson/1123758096?ean=2940163915934Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/in-times-like-these-16Apple iBooks – https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1499435033

Whom Shall I Fear?

Feeling Grateful For a Full Fridge: On Rationing and the Black Market in WWII Britain

What was it like for British citizens during World War II, when it came to feeding their hungry families? Read and see…and please leave author Anne Clare a comment, as she’s giving away a copy of her debut novel, Whom Shall I Fear to one commenter. I’ve read this book, and it reminded me that there’s ALWAYS more to learn about this tough time in history. Thanks for visiting!

As I’m writing this, it’s Saturday morning, which is “hot breakfast” morning in my family. This morning, I was in the mood for French Toast. I pulled open my fridge and grabbed eggs- there were plenty left from the 18 I’d bought last shopping run. The milk was a little low, but I could just pick up more later. With the cheap loaf of bread I’d picked up on sale yesterday, I was all set!

The steps between “I want this to eat” and “Hey kids, it’s breakfast time!”  were so simple that it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always so.

Before the onset of the Second World War, the island nation of Great Britain had imported around 70% of its food—not to mention other goods—requiringmillionsof tons of shipping. 

Then, war broke out. 

German U-boat “wolf packs” prowled the Atlantic, blocking shipments, destroying ships, and threatening to starve Britain into submission. How were the British people to be sustained?

The British Ministry of Food enforced a strict rationing program to ensure that there would be sufficient food to go around. Families would register with local sellers to receive their weekly allotments. Lines, or “queues” were long, and families had to plan out how they would use their ration coupons and points from week to week—assuming, of course, that the items they were standing in line for wouldn’t have run out by the time they got to the front. 

THE HOME FRONT IN BRITAIN DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (D 25035) People queuing at a greengrocers in High Road, Wood Green, North London, a familiar wartime sight. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205195174

  People queuing at a greengrocers in High Road, Wood Green, North London, a familiar wartime sight. © IWM (D 25035)

Kitchen staples like milk, sugar and fat fell under rationing. Average weekly rations for an adult would include 8 oz sugar, 4 oz bacon or ham, 3 pints of milk, 2 oz of tea, and one fresh egg.*

“A shopkeeper cancels the coupons in a British housewife’s ration book for the tea, sugar, cooking fats and bacon she is allowed for one week. Most foods in Britain are rationed and some brand names are given the designation “National”” Photo and caption courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

Non-food items, like clothes, shoes, gasoline and soap, also fell under ration. 

However, fruit and vegetables did not, and many people participated in the “Dig for Victory” program, planting gardens in every available bit of soil. Others found clever ways to make up for items they couldn’t get—girls might paint their legs to simulate “stockings” or use beetroot juice to color lipstickless lips.

Some people, however, chose less reputablemeans to supplement their rationed goods. 

Illegal activities took many forms. In some cases, it might be as simple as someone “forgetting” to mention that an elderly relative had died and continuing to collect rations with their books. Or perhaps someone might raise chickens but not register the eggs that were produced. In the cities, bombed out buildings were a strong temptation for looters. And, as might be expected, a black market thrived. 

Don’t Touch Black Market Goods (Art.IWM PST 16537) whole: the image occupies the whole. The title is integrated and positioned across the centre, in red and in white. The text is integrated and placed in the lower quarter, in white and in yellow. image: a half-length depiction of a sinister-looking black market trader, seen in shadow so that only his eyes are clearly visible. He holds a parcel tied with a red ribbon in his hands. text: DON’T TOUCH… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/33457

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum © IWM (Art.IWM PST 16537)

If someone wanted to find something and couldn’t through legal means, “spivs” had wares to offer, off the books, for a price. Even reputable shopkeepers might have a few things under the counter. As the war dragged on, even people who wouldn’t have considered theft in ordinary times might be tempted to supplement their rations if something that had “fallen off the back of a lorry” just happened to be for sale in their area. 

While some steered clear of illegal goods, the temptation was strong—according to the Imperial War Museum, “By March of 1941, 2,300 people had been prosecuted and severely penalized for fraud and dishonesty.” ** And there were still four years of war left to go.

As I was researching all of this for my recently released novel, Whom Shall I Fear?—in which one character finds himself deeply entangled in the underworld of the black market, with dangerous consequences—I found myself newly grateful for the often-overlooked blessings of a fully stocked pantry and grocery stores!

Thank you for letting me visit today, Gail! 

For more information, see my sources below, or for fascinating anecdotal stories about Britain’s wartime experiences, check out the BBC People’s War Archives. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/)

*Stats taken from the BBC news article “Breaking the Law During World War II” by Duncan Leatherdale ( https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-33566789)

**Quote taken from IMW article “What You Need To Know About Rationing In the Second World War” ( https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/what-you-need-to-know-about-rationing-in-the-second-world-war)

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Twitter: @anneclarewriter

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