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Gifts of war : a novel
Mackenzie Ford
Adult Fiction FORD

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A battlefield promise sends a British soldier on a romantic mission in Ford's debut, a historical that starts strong but meanders toward a muted finale. During the Christmas truce of 1914, Lt. Henry "Hal" Montgomery swaps gifts with a German officer, Wilhelm Wetzlar, who is engaged to Sam Ross, an English schoolteacher. Longing for his great love, Wilhelm asks Hal to search out the woman to tell her he is safe. After a battlefield injury leaves Hal unable to have children, he finds Sam in a village near Stratford and discovers she has recently given birth to Wilhelm's illegitimate child. Hiding the fact that Wilhelm is alive, Hal persuades Sam to move to London and to allow him to be a father figure to the young boy. As the war continues, Hal becomes engaged with espionage work, but can't convince Sam to allow him into her heart. A side trip to Switzerland and a lengthy subplot involving Sam's sisters dampen the tension created by the possible revelation of Hal's secret, and the novel's rushed final moments fail to provide a satisfying finish. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Oberleutnant Wilhelm Wetzlar and Lt. Henry Montgomery exchange civilities and makeshift gifts as German and British soldiers lay down their arms during the Christmas Truce of 1914. Wilhelm asks Henry to find his girl, Sam, a schoolteacher living near Stratford, and give her his photograph in uniform to explain his sudden disappearance. Wounded weeks later, Hal seeks to fulfill the request but instead becomes a suitor to Sam and a father figure to the son Wilhelm never knew he had. Hal's deception catapults this story through World War I and threatens to unravel these characters' lives. Descriptions of spying, intrigue, intelligence operations, jingoism of every stripe, and technological and medical breakthroughs reveal how those across the pond experienced the war to end all wars. The historical detail adds to the drama as first novelist Ford (a pseudonym for a British historian) keeps the reader on a knife's edge as the lies build and the truth is only a word or misstep away. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction as well as those who enjoy tales of espionage. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/09.]-Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Henry "Hal" Montgomery
Made a pact with Wilhelm during the Christmas Truce; promised to find Wilhelm's fiance, Samantha, and let her know Wilhelm is still alive; discharged from the army due to an injury; unexpectedly falls in love with Samantha; hides the fact that Wilhelm is still alive; becomes involved with military intelligence and espionage.

Wilhelm Wetzlar
Made a pact with Hal during the Christmas Truce that Hal would return to England to find Wilhelm's fiance and let her know he is still alive.
Military officer

Samantha Ross
Wilhelm's fiance; gave birth to Wilhelm's illegitimate son which jeopardizes her reputation and her job.

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