Book Review: Home and Away a World War II Christmas Story

December 2, 2015


Home and Away A World War II Christmas Story
Deane Hughes
208 pages
ARC through NetGalley

From the Publisher:
A historical fiction novel told from the perspective of a son fighting on the battlefields of Europe during World War II and his mother, struggling with worry and uncertainty about her soldier son while she tries to keep a semblenance of a normal, happy Christmas holiday back on the homefront.Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but 1944 will make that more difficult with money being tight and wartime rationing making everything hard to come by. Aware of his mother’s hardships and the worry from having her eldest son at war, second son, Dennis, is determined to buy his mother a special gift this Christmas, a lavendar blue dress he hopes will bring her comfort as a symbol of special times gone by and the hope of a brighter future with the family reunited at war’s end. Meantime, on a battlefield far from home in Holland with his 101st Airborne battalion, her soldier son catches a familiar scent of lavendar which briefly transports him back to the homefront.


I have always enjoyed Dean Hughes’ books, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve read any of his novels.  Hughes has a way with historical novels and can create really amazing characters. This novel is a lot shorter than some of the other books I’ve read by him, so I was a little curious to see how he would do.  But I was quickly drawn into this story and the lives of this family.

The story is told through the eyes of a 16 year old boy, Dennis.  I loved his character.  Dennis is such a good kid.  He is trying hard to do what is right, trying to do make good decisions, trying to figure out girls and life.  I really loved his desire to take care of his mother.  His relationship with his Dad was a hard one, but an honest one and one that I’m sure is so real.  At one point in the book I put it down and just felt so heart broken for this family though!  I had no idea how Hughes would turn it around - although I just  kept hoping that he would!

This book was easy to read and a good reminder for me of what sacrifices families have made and continue to make for our country and our freedom.  

While I relieved an advanced kindle edition of this book through NetGalley, this is a book I would purchase and add to our own family Christmas library. I could re-read this book again ever year.

I’ve read quite a few Christmas books this year and enjoyed them all but I really think if you enjoy historical fiction and only have time for one Christmas book this year this should be it. I’ve seen this book at a lot of local book stores.  You can also order a copy through amazon here.

Short and sweet -this is a wonderful heart-warming book to get you in the spirit of Christmas.
​Final Score:

This post contains affiliated links and I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.  You can read my full policy here.

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