Before I started writing Sadie’s story, what I knew about World War I would fill a small paragraph. It required weeks of research before I felt I had enough background information about the war and life in 1918 to start writing Sadie’s story.
If you’re wondering why I picked World War I and that era as the backdrop for Sadie’s story, it’s because the timing was right in regard to her age, and her desire to be a doctor. And the war also provided a convenient way to add conflict to the story.
I’ve known from the first time I wrote about Sadie’s character (in Marnie, when she was only eight), that one day she needed to have her own story. It wasn’t until I began doing the research, though, that I grew inspired to base part of her character and experiences on the true stories of women who served in France during World War I.
Today, I thought I’d share some of the books I read while I was doing the research.
Sergeant York written by Alvin York is his story about his time in the war written in his often humorous dialect. He is a wonderful storyteller but certain came across as a humble man who dedicated his life to God. You’ll see some of that humbleness in Harley John Hobb’s character in Sadie’s story.
Testament of Youth written by Vera Brittan is her story of leaving college ( a position that was hard-won) to become a nurse. She lost her fiancé, her friends, even her brother to the war and I found her words both poignant and touching. Right now, the Kindle version of the book is only 75 cents.
American Women in World War I by Lettie Gavin was so incredibly helpful. The book was broken down into chapters by the various places and ways in which women served. It included snippets from journals and diaries that provided such a stark, honest look at the war from the point of view of the women who served.
World War I: The Definitive Visual History from the Smithsonian offered maps, charts, timelines, so many incredible photographs, and much more. It was worth every penny to get the hardback book.
Another book that thoroughly intrigued and inspired me was Bellevue in France by Dr. Anne Tjomsland. Anne was one of the few women doctors who was allowed to go to France in early 1918. She went as a contracted civilian instead of a member of the American Expeditionary Forces (US Army). Her book was full of wit, desperation, and such detail I felt like I was right there in Vichy with her. Anne truly became the inspiration for the doctor side of Sadie’s character.
If you haven’t yet pre-ordered your copy of Sadie, I hope you will.
She yearns for far-flung adventures.
He longs for the home he’s found in her heart.
Will a world at war tear them apart, or draw them closer together?
For most of her life, Doctor Sadie Thorsen has imagined seeing the world on grand adventures. When America joins the war raging across the world in 1917, it seems her dreams are about to come true. She travels overseas as a contracted physician, eager to do her part to help the war effort. Endless streams of wounded push her to the limits of endurance, then she receives word Harley John Hobbs, the man she’s loved for years, is missing in action. Unable to bear the thought of life without him in it, she refuses to let go of her hope that he’s alive.
The day Sadie Thorsen shoved Harley John Hobbs down on the playground was the day she marched off with his heart. He spent years doing everything in his power to become successful, determined to have more than himself to offer Sadie if she ever returns to their eastern Oregon town. Conscripted to join the American Expeditionary Forces, Harley John answers the call and heads to France. Wounded and alone, he clings to the promise of seeing Sadie one last time.
Can deep, abiding love withstand the tragedies and trials of a world at war?