Two young friends, in a world that had gone bonkers, try to keep each other grounded by writing letters to each other during WWII. Although what happened in their lives was vastly different from each other, they found a common ground, a way to keep each other sane.
From mundane daily chores to life threatening events, these letters from two pen pals take the reader on a journey into the past, a past where nightmares came true, and when hatred reigned.
A time in history that we should never, ever forget.
Dear Margaret, is based on real people. Margaret's memories from that time and the WWII experiences of H. P. Lawrence, a Pearl Harbor survivor, Black Cat, and decorated war veteran.
If you are interested in more information about the non-fiction memoirs of ARM Henry Paul Lawrence, see I WAS JUST A RADIOMAN.
Both books are available in print at your favorite bookstore, as an e-book on Amazon, or in audio formats.
Let me tell you some more about Margaret. It is more personal, touching upon who Harry was and who Margaret was, how they felt about the war, and how they both dealt with it so very differently.
Dear Margaret, is based on events that occured in Margaret's life, friends, and family during WW2. She and Harry did know each other, however, she was four years younger than him. So, obviously, he wouldn't have been having a running, continuous pen pal relationship with someone so young.
Most of the people mentioned in Dear Margaret, are real, and the historical events, and much of the family history that happened in the letters are true. Yes, she had an uncle named Popeye. Yes, she knew and was friends with Doris Duke (Poor Little Rich Girl, The richest woman in the world, Duke University) Yes, she worked as a Red Cross volunteer. Yes, her mother worked at the torpedo station.
Okay, I have received a multitude of emails asking...Did they marry and live Happily Ever After? Well inquiring minds want to know!
3 out of 4 stars
Review by bluegreenmarina
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Having joined the reserves before his senior year of high school, Harry is called away in May prior to his graduation, and sent to a base in Hawaii. Meanwhile, Margaret’s letters to Harry tell of her schoolgirl life and mundane events back home. While Harry is in Hawaii, Pearl Harbor is attacked, and the entire course of the war (as well as the content of Harry’s and Margaret’s letters) changes. Margaret drops out of school to join the war effort, while Harry’s missions grow increasingly more dangerous.
Though at times Harry’s account of the events taking place around him is a bit dry and technical, especially when he details the various equipment he uses, the book also includes a fascinating amount of real-life information about the day-to-day operations of fighters like Harry. Having read the afterward, I realized that though this is a work of fiction, it is based on true events, and the technical equipment information is accurate as well. The letters between the pen pals are written in a succinct conversational tone, which not only enables for quick reading, but also allows a reader without any knowledge of the war or radio and airplane equipment to follow along easily. Despite the fact that Harry’s account of the war grows more intense as the time passes, his letters maintain a methodical and practical tone.
One of the most interesting aspects of this work is the contrast between Margaret’s life on the mainland and Harry’s life on base in Hawaii and later as he traveled all over the world for various missions. Margaret’s letters offer a fascinating glimpse on the war’s effect on everyday American lives, as she describes rationing and supply shortages, travel difficulties, and the not-always-reliable spread of information regarding the war. The contrast between their lives is highlighted by the difference in tone and terminology within their letters – Margaret’s typically offering a much more reactive and emotional response to events. As the book switches back and forth between the two accounts, the contrast of their lives forces the reader to consider the significant impact of the war on every single person living at that time.
I found this to be an informative account, though I had hoped it would go a bit deeper in the picture it was aiming to paint. Perhaps because the tone of Harry’s letters was so technical, it was not always easy to connect emotionally to the events he described. The only exception to this is when he describes the minute details of living through the Pearl Harbor attacks – his letter really came alive then, though the others he writes are much more removed from the scenes in them. Margaret’s letters were easier to connect with, as her life took on many drastic changes as the war progressed, and one could see her progress from the daily comforts available before the war to an entirely new lifestyle. However, one thing that I believe would have made the book better would be a more noticeable character development for one or both of the main characters. Largely, their personalities remained fairly consistent within the tone of the letters from the beginning to the end, though in my opinion it would have made a bigger literary impact to witness the impact the events of the war must have had on them. Regardless, this is a solid and informative read for folks who are interested in war accounts and WWII specifically, and folks who enjoy stories of friendships during difficult times. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
WWII memorablilia and images coming soon.