Joanna served as a switchboard operator with the signal corps in France. Now that the war is over, Joanna really doesn't want to go back home. She feels that there is nothing there for her, but a letter from her brother has caught up with her telling her that their mother has passed away and he needs her help with their younger sister, Lily.
Myra Johnson has undertaken to write about a new (for me) era of historical fiction--World War I. I don't know that I have read any of her works before, but I can guarantee this won't be the only book by her I will read.
Myra has developed a story around multi-dimensional characters who face many of the same problems we face today, and she put them in a most picturesque place--my home town, Hot Springs, Arkansas. The bulk of the story takes place at the Arlington Hotel--the height of luxury for the time. Joanna gladly takes a position as a switchboard operator at the Arlington, where she renews her friendship with Thomas Ballard, the manager of the Arlington. Because Joanna needs to be home during the day for Lily and Jack, their brother, she takes the night shift at the switchboard. Because Thomas wants to know Joanna better, he finds ways to hang around after his working hours are over.
Joanna's biggest problem is how to get through to Lily in a way to keep her out of trouble. She knows that she doesn't want Lily making the same mistakes she made as a teenager. The other issue Joanna has is how to get over the loss of her fiance' in France during the war.
I chose to read this book primarily because of its setting. The places mentioned are familiar to me because I grew up in the town. The Arlington is at the head of the main street of Hot Springs. Turn to the left, and you will pass the St Joseph Hospital where I was born (the building has since been torn town); turn to the right, and you will pass the Majestic--one of the other luxury hotels in town (it burned down last year, sadly). This is in one of the most beautiful areas of town.
The plot moves with an engaging pace, the characters are empathetic, the problems are believable, and the resolution is satisfying for the reader. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a trip down memory lane.
Abingdon Press provided this book in exchange for my honest review.