Paper Dolls and Hollow Men is the story of World War II as seen through the eyes of four families: three families from the Muskingum River Valley and one from southwestern Kentucky.
The story is told partly as narrative and partly through letters from family members serving in Europe. The large cache of letters my father sent to his older brother and family form the nucleus of the novel. The story begins during the early days of the Depression and continues until 1946, when the survivors return home.
The book describes Army training at Camp Polk, the Mojave Desert, and England. It follows the 36th Armored Infantry from Omaha Beach to the hedgerows in Normandy and to Ardennes on the cusp of the Battle of the Bulge. Several of the characters face debilitating injuries and worse.
Paper Dolls and Hollow Men is the second book in a series of southeastern Ohio stories. I’m excited about this book, my second with Dog Ear Publishing. This book has been a labor of love. I discovered a treasure trove of letters my father had sent back to relatives during his service in World War II. Reading these 30-some letters, I learned more about my father than I ever expected to know. In many ways, I think of this book as an extended love letter to my father. Looking at him at age 64, I have a new perspective on my father in his 30s. I felt these letters would be a great basis for a wonderful story about life, love, tragedy, and happiness.
The history of Muskingum Valley is something I learned from older relatives on our weekly trips to the valley down from northern Ohio. The War touched the lives of my extended family. My mother, a War widow from Chesterhill with a young child, married my father after they met at the Stockport Mill where she was a bookkeeper.