Land That I Love
by Gail Kittleson
Set in the German Hill Country of Texas during World War II, Land That I Love is a sweeping literary novel of love and loss; friendship and animosity; fathers and sons; and coping during times of war and peace. Yet it is more than a love story. It is about the racism and bigotry that still exist in our world. As author Gail Kittleson’s characters struggle with the problems of everyday life, they teach us that we survive hard times by being good neighbors despite our differences and that hatred can be conquered by love, understanding and forgiveness.My Thoughts:
Land That I Love was the January selection for the 'Talking Texas' Book Group
here in my new town. We were lucky enough to have the author, Gail Kittleson, attend our meeting and share with us some thoughts on her writing journey with this book and in general. Gail is originally from Iowa, but now lives in Arizona, and she was on a book tour through the Central Texas area. Gail wrote about her trip here
on her website.
I mentioned in another blog post that I really enjoyed this book. Honestly, a lot more than I thought I would. As most of you know, I'm firmly in the Mystery 'wheelhouse', but I do venture out from time to time (which is good for me). I knew that Land That I Love was set in Central Texas during the World War II years. I also knew it told of a family and friends that lived during that time and of their experiences. Our librarian moderator had said that it was a sweet story with a lot of character growth. I had not anticipated the amount of historical details that I would encounter that both spoke to me and my life and also caused me to think and ponder. I'll share a bit about those.
My father was a WWII vet and he spent his time in the Pacific arena. He didn't talk about it much, but he and my mother did share some memories of that time with us as we grew up. My mother had memories of the Pearl Harbor attack and listening to the radio that day. I knew that FDR had addressed the nation. I did not remember that Eleanor Roosevelt also addressed the country and was the first public figure to do that day on her radio show. The First Lady spoke to all Americans, but she also addressed the women and young people specifically. What a strong leader she was!
There were other things about Texas during the time - the fact that many pilots were trained here not far from our area. Women did a lot of the ferrying of the planes back and forth so that the men training could have access to the equipment they needed. I knew, of course, about the internment camps for Japanese Americans. I had not heard as much about the German Americans. Central Texas was settled by many people that came from Germany and Central Europe. And there was discrimination during the war years. I wrote a post here
a few years ago about visiting Fredericksburg, Texas (about 20 miles from Kerrville where I live) and touring the National Pacific War Museum and seeing the Admiral Chester Nimitz Gallery. Admiral Nimitz was born in Fredericksburg and was a descendent of some of those German settlers. I could go on and on. Ha!
Our book group enjoyed talking with Gail, the author, and she shared her love of historical research with us and talked about her writing life. Many questions were asked and several in the group told a bit of their own stories and growing up knowing this or that regarding the topics brought up in the book. It was a great meeting. Glad I was able to attend.
I'm delighted to share a guest post by Gail Kittleson tomorrow. She also has written other books set during that WWII time period. You can find info about them on her website: gailkittleson.com
What a wonderful post, Kay. So interesting to read. Difficult times worldwide at the moment and any distraction is very welcome.ReplyDelete
Yes, I agree, Cath. We're all looking for those distractions. The time depicted in this book was another difficult time for the world. And our parents and grandparents made their way through the period. I know we can too.Delete
I just finished listening to NEWS OF THE WORLD, part of which is set in the Hill Country. It sounds like an interesting part of the country.ReplyDelete
Susan, it is an interesting part of the US and of Texas. Lots of things have happened in this area. Did you enjoy New of the World. I remember that I did.Delete
That does sound like a good book, Kay, and learning all that about Texas during World War II must have been really interesting for you. I did hear about some of my father's experiences during the war but I wish I had more and written up some notes on that subject.ReplyDelete
I understand what you're saying, Tracy. I do have some memories of things my parents, particularly my mother, told me, but the memories are becoming a bit fuzzy. Think that's why I was so happy that certain parts of the book sparked those memories.Delete
I love both fiction and nonfiction about WWII, and I'm also interested in the Hill Country, so I'm definitely interested!ReplyDelete
Good to know, Jenclair. I think we can all learn something from those times and also from the history of what area we call home. :-)Delete
This sounds like a great book, Kay. I haven't read a WWII book set in Texas. The first learned about German Hill Country was from News of the World.ReplyDelete
Yes, News of the World gives a good view of the Hill Country and also areas of Texas further north. You might like this one.Delete