About the Book
Book: The Widow & The War Correspondent
Author: Linda Shenton Matchett
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: June 15, 2020
Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?
Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?
A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?
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About the Author
Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.
More from Linda
I’ve been intrigued by female war correspondents since I first saw a museum exhibit about Therese Bonney, a WWII photo journalist. Further investigation turned up Martha Gellhorn, Margaret Bourke-White, Dickey Chapelle, Toni Frissell, and Lee Miller.
Of the more than 2,000 accredited U.S. correspondents who traveled overseas to cover World War II, only 127 were women. Accreditation acted as a contract: The Army or Navy transported correspondents into war zones, fed and sheltered them, and sent their dispatches home. In return, correspondents followed military law and censorship. Correspondents who defied rules lost credentials. They received a pocket-sized “Basic Field Manual” of accreditation rules. Frighteningly, it included a waiver of liability for injury or death.
Correspondents carried a green accreditation card and wore uniforms without symbols of rank, to indicate they would neither give nor take salutes. War correspondents wore green “WC” armbands, which evolved into “U.S. War Correspondent” patches. They were treated as captains, a rank that allowed them to eat with officers and facilitated POW exchanges if taken prisoner. Women correspondents wore skirts with male uniform blouses.
Nearly every commander in the Allied forces refused to allow women near combat. They feared women breaking under pressure (a fate that befell many men), balking at lack of women’s latrines, or influencing soldiers to take risks to protect them.
Still, accredited women saw combat. Sometimes the front shifted, catching women in the thick of action, as was the case with Ruth Cowan in North Africa. Some asked officers to write letters of introduction to combat zones, as did Bourke-White in Italy. Still others got their by hook or by crook.
Female journalists fought a double war: a war against evil and a war against the system. They fought red tape, ridicule, derision, lewdness, and downright hostility to do the job they were hired to do. The grit and gumption of these women enabled them to provide eyewitness accounts to the harrowing events of WWII. Political-reporter-turned-war correspondent May Craig summed up their achievements in a 1944 speech at the Women’s National Press Club: “The war has given women a chance to show what they can do in the news world, and they have done well.” BBC Correspondent Lyse Doucet agrees, “They did it, not just because they were exceptional women, but because they were great journalists.”
I wrote The Widow & The War Correspondent to honor these brave women in some small way, and I hope you enjoy Cora’s story.
Linda Shenton Matchett
Author Interview with Linda Shenton Matchett
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Because of my love of books in addition to writing I’ve taken several literary pilgrimages to either visit the homestead of writers I admire such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott or go to locations where I’ve set my stories. My favorite journey was when I went to England in 2015. By then I had already written several stories set in WWII England, but had used books, videos, and the internet to get there virtually. We spent seven days in London and three days in Hastings on the south coast, and I walked where my characters walked seeing places through their eyes. The experience was more emotional than I anticipated, and I enjoyed every minute. I hope to return in the near future.
How do you select the names of your characters?
The era and heritage of my characters determines the process I use to select names for my characters. I own several high school and college year books 1939-1947 and will combine the first name from one student and the last name of another for my WWII characters. I also visit cemeteries and collect names that resonate with me to use later. The internet has been helpful to name my characters of Norwegian, Irish, and German heritage.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Can I select two?? LOL. As a small child, my absolute favorite was Are You My Mother? I have no idea why I was so enamored with the story, but I loved it and read it numerous times. In my later childhood, I read and fell in love with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. That was the book that fueled my desire to become a writer – I wanted to affect others like that book affected me.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I would read more intentionally and more slowly. I was a voracious reader (still am) but as a youngster I devoured books quickly, then moved onto the next one. That didn’t make for necessarily quality reading.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
Definitely the characters. As an HR professional I’m fascinated by jobs of the past, and especially women in employment in the “old days.” I wrote The Widow & The War Correspondent specifically to honor the female journalists who covered WWII.
Thank you, Linda, for letting us get to know you better!
Texas Book-aholic, June 7
Beauty in the Binding, June 8 (Author Interview)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 8
Inklings and notions, June 9
Betti Mace, June 10
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, June 11 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, June 12
For Him and My Family, June 13
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 14
Splashes of Joy, June 15 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, June 15
Locks, Hooks and Books, June 16
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 17
Connie’s History Classroom, June 18
Artistic Nobody, June 19 (Author Interview)
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20
To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Visa Gift Card and signed copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.