Everson (Five Brides, 2015) tells a classic 1940s coming-of-age war love story complete with soda shops, five-and-dimes, rationing, and German POWs. She brilliantly captures life in small-town America and the men who went to war, those who came back, and the women they left behind. Rich with prayer and Christian faith, Alice-Ann’s characters are portrayed with soul-satisfying emotional vulnerability as they hit all the high notes of the aching of youth, the shock of loss, and the gentle surprise of falling in love again.
Living in non-glamorous, small-town Georgia in the 1940s does nothing to satisfy 16-year-old Alice-Ann’s longing for beauty and maturity. She wants to be seen as a woman and is in love with her brother’s best friend, Mack; she plans on confessing her love to him. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked, the build-up of war stuns the town and puts her plans on hold. Mack enlists and promises to write, but never broaches the subject of his feelings for Alice-Ann, leaving her to wonder whether her love is returned. She savors his letters, and when news of his death reaches her, she struggles to let go of her childhood love. When her best friend’s brother, Carlton Hillis, returns from the war badly injured, Alice-Ann becomes his caregiver, never expecting to care more deeply for him. As Mack’s place in her heart slowly fades, or transforms, she receives an unexpected call from the Pacific that shakes her world and forces her to make a choice. Everson (Five Brides) beautifully captures the fickle, inexplicable nature of human emotion in this sob-inducing romantic tale.