Wednesday, January 02, 2019

World at War: Veronica

Veronica. (Sunfire #18) Jane Claypool Miner. 1986. Scholastic. 220 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: The party looked just as boring as Veronica feared, and she planned her retreat the minute she entered the room.

Premise/plot: Veronica is set in Hawaii in 1941. The novel opens a few months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Veronica Stewart is our sixteen year old heroine. Throughout the book she'll be courted by two young men: a slightly older sailor, Phillip, and a fellow classmate, Mike. Her snobbish mother disapproves of both. She disapproves of Mike because he's Hawaiian. She disapproves of Phillip because he's a sailor--not an officer in the Navy. (Veronica's father is an officer in the Navy). Both men are dying of love for her--or so they claim. Veronica realizes sixteen is too young to go steady or become engaged.

Veronica is staying over at a friends house the day of the bombing. She is an eyewitness to the Japanese planes flying overhead, an eyewitness to the bombs dropping, an eyewitness to a horrifying, unforgettable day. Most people who lived through it probably didn't need a reminder to remember Pearl Harbor.

My thoughts: The opening of Veronica reminds me of Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O'Hara is also sixteen. Both Scarlett and Veronica are super-super-bored by talk of politics and war. Both Scarlett and Veronica wish parties were more party-like and FUN for the young. Both Scarlett and Veronica end up serving the war cause in one way or another. But fortunately the similarities are only on the surface.

Veronica is young and carefree at the start of the novel. She's not had to grow up quickly by being weighed down by adult-size worries. But the war does change that--and she adapts well to the situation. She welcomes responsibilities and grows into a lovely young woman.

I grew up reading the Sunfire romance novels. I did. Some I reread many, many times. Some I just read once or twice. I loved the sweetness of them. They are definitely quick escapist reads. Though the subject is war, this one isn't super-serious--not like The Diary of Anne Frank or The Book Thief.

Each book does feature a love triangle. Usually readers can guess which hero is THE ONE very early on. If not, there's always the cheater-pants way to tell--by looking at the end first.

Veronica would have been born circa 1925--a year younger than my grandmother would have been when the war started.

The original readers of Veronica would have been born circa 1972-1978.

Dear Scholastic:
If I thought begging would do any good, I would plead with you to republish the Sunfire romance series originally published in the 1980s. The "name" books were my favorite-and-best books from my middle years--my first introduction to the wonderful genre of historical romance. It's a love that's still going strong, by the way. I know the Sunfire books don't contain vampires, werewolves, fairies, or demons. But why should romance novels contain such in the first place. If they were worth publishing in the first place--which they so clearly were--they are worth republishing.

I have given it a lot of thought. I have. And I think it would be wonderful if the books were republished as e-books for the same price as the original paperback books were released. Granted, I would love to see PRINT copies as well. But I imagine that they would cost more than the lovely $2.95 of the originals! But for an e-book, the thought is IT'S WORTH EVERY PENNY.


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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