Read an Excerpt From "Home and Away"

Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Home and Away: A World War II Christmas
By Dean Hughes

It was 1944 and Glen, Dennis's big brother, was with the army's 101st Airborne Division, fighting in Europe. When the last letter had come from Glen-almost two weeks ago-he had been at the battlefront in Holland. Newspapers were reporting heavy casualties among the Allied forces there. Linda and Sharon didn't entirely understand the danger, but Dennis did, and he feared every day that bad news might come. The kitchen was warmer than it really needed to be, but it was cozy, and Dennis loved the smell of turkey and the pies-and baked bread. He had eaten too much, of course, but he wasn't going to stop until he had a slice of each pie. Over on the kitchen cabinet, the radio was softly playing. A big band was performing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." The local station in Ogden, Utah, had begun to play Christmas music that day. When Linda began to sing the words to the song, Dad finally seemed to notice, and he groaned. "They start earlier every year," he said. "The stores must pay the radio station to play that stuff. That's all Christmas is now-a chance to boost sales." It was what Dad said every year. But Mom loved Christmas, and she did all she could to make the holidays nice.