I’ve already spoken about my source of inspiration for The War Diaries, so I’ll direct you to that post.
Now, things have already changed about the plot, and I’m sure they’ll continue to change, but this is the basic blurb I have right now.
Rose Baldock is a female journalist in Britain. She has two great sisters, a loving father, and she’s more than a little in love with their across-the-street neighbour, Walter Hill. But things are not so peaceful throughout the rest of the world, and when Britain declares war on Germany, Rose’s life is turned upside-down. Her father sinks into depression, her sisters are no help, and Walter enlists almost immediately. The only solace she has is in his letters. They come just as he promised – once a week, every week. Then one week they stop coming. After two months of waiting, and exhausting every resource in an attempt to locate Walter, Rose leaves Britain for France – the place Walter had last written from – as a war correspondent. But the war has just begun, and as it continues, things will become even more dangerous.
I hate writing book blurbs. I’m sure you don’t want to know how long I slaved over that one. It’s sounds terrible, but I hope you won’t think the excerpt is as bad. I actually had fun writing it, and I want to write more. I guess that’s the danger of this challenge. Plot bunnies are irresistable once you truly start working on them. Anyway, here’s the snippet…
September 4th, 1939
We declared war on Germany yesterday.
Father came running into the house, his face nearly as red as the phone box at the end of our street. Anneliese, Mary, and I all came as soon as we heard him calling for us. Anneliese hovered around him, while Mary fetched some water, and I helped him to a chair and pulled out a handkerchief. It took a few moments to get anything clear out of Father, but at last he was able to give the dreadful news.
My sisters and I exchanged glances. We’d all been expecting it, of course, ever since Hitler started his campaign across Europe, but to hear it actually happening was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Almost as soon as he’d sat down, Father bolted back up again and was out the door, saying something about ‘finding out more news’ as he left. And we were left alone to our thoughts, and only our thoughts, since none of us said much, if anything.
After a couple seconds, we all went to our rooms.
I have no idea what my sisters did, but I prayed, and prayed hard.
Later that night, Father came back. He had no more real news, but he was more like his usual self, even bringing the three of us gifts. He often brought us little treats at least once a week – a habit he’d never grown out of from when we were little girls – and they were always appreciated, no matter how expected. This time, it was a good quality journal for each of us.
He patted my hand as he gave me mine, and then looked at the three of us.
“Britain is entering into dangerous times, but also historic times. It would be a fine thing for future generations if you each kept a record of our day to day lives. We’ll have newspapers to tell us about battles and victories – there will be victories,” he added, “but I’m sure your children will want to know what their mother and aunts did during this time.”
I hid a smile with my hand. None of us were even engaged, and here was Father, talking about our children and ‘future generations’. But I knew he meant well – we all knew – so I thanked him for the journal, even if I had little intention of keeping one. I was too shocked and worried and scared. War was a terrible thing – I hadn’t been around during the Great War, but Father had, and the stories he told had given me nightmares when I was little. And those were just the milder ones.
But now, sitting here in the cosy attic room with the slanted ceiling, I’m starting to feel more secure. Britain is the greatest country in the world. We’ll not give up, and we won’t be beat, so the entries in this journal won’t be all that horrible. If I was in one of the European countries that Hitler could invade at any moment, I’m sure I wouldn’t keep this journal. It would be too depressing for all those future generations. This, however, is an entirely different matter.
I faithfully promise to keep this journal until the end of this war.
I pray that it will come soon. ~The War Diaries
P.S. In case you’re wondering, I did indeed do this particular plot bunny today, since it’s the anniversary of D-Day. I thought it would be fitting.