cover image Home and Away: A World War II Christmas Story

Home and Away: A World War II Christmas Story

Dean Hughes. Shadow Mountain, $16.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-62972-093-7

In Hughes’s tense, emotional novel, members of a Utah family try to summon Christmas joy as they worry about their son and brother, Glen, who is on the front lines in 1944 Europe, and face financial pressures at home. Sixteen-year-old Dennis knows how hard his mother works to make the holidays bright, even if his gruff father doesn’t appreciate her efforts, so he works extra shifts at his part-time job in order to buy her something special. Hughes’s portrait of a family on edge and exploration of Glen’s brutal experiences in the trenches make for some dark reading, though he frequently cites characters’ sustaining faith and reliance on prayer and highlights some tender moments, too. A hopeful ending and a father’s emerging change of heart signal a brighter future for the entire clan. Ages 15–up. (Sept.)