Today's Wednesday Wonders features By the Stars by Lindsay Ferguson.
About the book:
Deep in the alcoves of 93-year-old Cal Morgan’s mind is an unexpected and intriguing past. Recollections of growing up a farm boy during the Great Depression, learning to foxtrot in the largest ballroom in America, and serving as an infantry soldier in World War II are fragments of his memories. But perhaps above all, a once in a lifetime love story is seared in his soul, reminding us that some things in life are meant to be.
When Cal finally gets a chance with Kate, the girl he’s loved since grade school, their easy friendship quickly blossoms into a meaningful romance. Spirited and independent, Kate keeps a guarded heart due to a painful past, and Cal wants nothing more than to gain her trust. But the WWII draft calls him to the war in the Pacific and with no way of knowing when and if he will return, Cal prepares to part from her for good. After he’s gone, what Kate does next changes everything.
In the suffocating jungles of the Philippines Cal encounters the chilling life of a soldier and deadly battles of war. But with Kate’s memory always near and willing him on he puts his trust in God, ultimately driven to return to her. Inspired by a true story, By the Stars shows that love, faith, and perseverance can overcome insurmountable obstacles.
My Book Review:
What a delightful romance, and a testament that good things come to even ordinary people. Cal was not considered among the popular crowd. He missed out on a lot of frivolous fun because of his long hours spent working on the family farm, a mundane but essential family business. That put him out of the path of the popular social group. Kate, a girl he meets and befriends when she is assigned a school locker next to his, soon goes on with her life as if Cal doesn’t exist. He admires from afar, but does not believe he can compete with the popular guys in Kate’s social circle.
I loved the way the characters were written. Cal was an ordinary guy, not flashy, but a young man who did his duty to both his church and his country. Even though he loses contact with Kate several times during his young life, he never completely forgets her. Occasional chance meetings throw them together often enough to keep his interest in her alive. Kate is a delightful young woman, but disappointed in her expectations. As much as she enjoys socializing and having fun, she decides to follow a path that excludes marriage and family—probably the only reason she was still single in the short period of time between Cal’s mission and his military service in World War Two.
I think my favorite part in the entire story was when he visits family at church after being gone three years. He is late for the meeting, and sees one seat open halfway down the chapel. Just as he reaches that spot and prepares to ask the person sitting next to it if it is available, the young woman turns to face him. It is Kate. At that moment, the lyrics of the opening hymn, “…Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,…” is sung and resonates through him. But, it didn’t with Kate. She agrees to go dancing with Cal, but not to enter into a romance with him.
Once again, after only a few weeks at home, Cal is inducted into the Army as an infantryman where he will eventually be sent to the Philippines, a duty that would lead to years of difficulty for him. He left expecting never to see Kate again. What happened while he was in training had me raising an eyebrow. The incident is based on a true story, but I’m pretty sure it could never happen in today’s world.
The romance is clean and proper. The story was uplifting. I could identify with Kate’s feelings and got a chuckle out of some of her antics. I also could not help but admire Cal as proof that quiet, dependable men who work hard and do their duty are sometimes the best heroes of all.
About the author:
LINDSAY FERGUSON has been immersing herself in stories since her childhood days of sneaking a flashlight into her room and staying up reading The Babysitters Club series way past her bedtime, writing spinoffs of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and imagining herself in fascinating, far-off places. She still dreams of traveling the world one day, and finds getting lost in a good book almost as absorbing as penning her own stories and experiencing them unfold. A Communication graduate from the University of Utah, she worked as a PR and marketing writer for a computer software company for several years before resigning to focus on raising her family. She has also contributed lifestyle articles to various media outlets. When she felt the itch to attempt novel writing a fascination with history created a natural inclination toward historical fiction, with a romantic flare, of course. She lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City with her husband and four children. By the Stars is her first novel.
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Some things in life are meant to be. BY THE STARS @lb_ferguson http://bit.ly/24PU7qs #RobynEcholsBooks