Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: As Always, Jack

'As Always, Jack: A World War Two Love Story'
Author: Emma Sweeney


Format: Hardback
Published: Axios; 2012
Pages: 179
Genre: Epistolary
Grade: B
Source: TLC Book Tours


Synopsis: At the end of WWII, a 26-year-old navy pilot meets and falls in love with a beautiful California girl named Beebe. They have about two weeks together before he is shipped off to the South Pacific for six months. When he returns they marry, have four sons and 10 good years together before he, still in the military, is killed in a plane crash off Bermuda in 1956. At the time of his death, his wife was pregnant with a daughter. The daughter spends her life longing for information about the father she never knew. Years later, after her mother's death, the daughter finds a bundle of letters that her father wrote to her mother in the six months before their marriage. Those letters are presented along with a foreword and afterword by the daughter, Sweeney, now a New York literary agent and gardening book author. The letters portray a decent, kindhearted young man with a quirky sense of humor who is obviously in love. 

My Take: I'll read just about anything set during WWII. As I have mentioned time and time again it is a genre that fascinates me. So when it was suggested that I read a collection of love letters set during this time period I jumped at the chance. Romances during this era seem more passionate, more evocative than during any other era I read about. Perhaps it's because they have to be rushed or because they may never see each other again but whatever the case may be, knowing that this was a real romance, and not just a fictional one, made it all the more captivating to read about.

As Always, Jack is essentially told in three parts. The first is when the author, Emma Sweeney, sets up the story for us. She tells us that her parents met during the end of WWII end immediately fell in love. However she has never known her father and so has imagined him as some amazing character probably far out of depth with who he truly was. Upon her mother's passing she is handed down the letters he wrote her during their courtship when he was stationed overseas.

So begins the second section and the true meat of the story. We learn about the courtship of Jack and Beebe Sweeney before they were married and when their love was truly innocent. While the letter writing only went on for six months and they only knew each other for two weeks before hand you could tell that in that short time theirs was going to be a lifelong romance. I would like to tell you that each and every letter had me hanging off of every word but I actually found them to be a little dull at times. They were one sided (we only have Jack's letters to Beebe to read) and there isn't that much meat to them. Really just a lot of innocent pining over his one true love.

What I enjoyed more was Sweeney's beginning and end where she frames the narrative of the story and their lives. I could have used more of that with some sample letters placed here and there for 'flavor' and would have probably gotten just as much out of it. 

However as a WWII fan, this is just a slip of a book and well worth reading for some real life romance of the times.

Cover Lust: It completely captures the authentic spirit of the book!

For other opinions on this book, please check out the full TLC Tour here!

Giveaway Details
Thanks to the publisher, I have one to give away! The deadline for this giveaway is August 10th; entries open to those in the US (no PO boxes please).

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST August 10th. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

22 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book! I would like to enter to win it. My email address is readhandedlibrarian (at) gmail (dot) com. I also follow you on GFC and on Twitter (will tweet about it later as I don't have access to Twitter right now!)

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  2. A bit of real life romance would be nice for once

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  3. This sounds like a book I'd love! Thanks for the giveaway. kathy(at)bermudaonion.net

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  4. I love WWII novels! It's definitely my favorite time period to read about. I also follow you via GFC kristens (dot) booknook (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  5. I've seen so many great responses to this one. I'd love to win.
    stacybooks at yahoo

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  6. Would love to read this book.Lomazowr@gmail.com.email subscriber twitter follower at rhondareads will tweetgfc follower.

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  7. My parents fell in love in this era. I would love to read this book and recapture the feeling of the time. I follow you on google connect and you can reach me at
    seascapelife@gmail.com
    Lexie

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  8. This looks like a great one! Thank you kindly! Cheers!

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

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  9. I love WWII novels also!! I would love to read this.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  10. I follow via gfc.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  11. I like books told through letters, something a little different!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ladybook21 at yahoo dot com

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  12. I really like the cover of this book as well - it seems a perfect match for the story inside.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

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  13. I don't think real life romance ever gets old. :)

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  14. A wonderful novel from a great era. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. A captivating book that would be memorable and special. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  16. I love the WWII era, too. Would love to win this. Thanks.

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  17. Oh wow, this sounds awesome! I love epistolary novels, and even better are real-life collections of love letters...

    quarterback.girl[at]gmail[dot]com

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  18. I follow via GFC as RivkaBelle

    quarterback.girl[at]gmail[dot]com

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  19. No need to enter me, as I already have the book. I see what you mean about not all of the letters being interesting, but I still really enjoyed the book. I got all caught up in Emma meeting her dad for the first time, so I just gobbled the book right up.

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  20. Oh i love the sound of this book! I'm also glad to see you enjoy it. Please enter me for the giveaway. Thank you!

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  21. This sounds like an absorbing family drama. I enjoy books set in this timeframe.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  22. GFC follower
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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