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‘The Sting of Love’ to be released in September

There is a saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Janet Graber, originally from England, now living in Apple Valley, claims that this maxim can equally apply to any place where soldiers have served. Their stories remain in-country, and unspoken. She knows from personal experience.

“Like most veterans my father never spoke of his experiences. After five years of brutal fighting, he continued to serve with the Allies in Italy for 18 months after the end of WWII. I had little idea of what he did there. Whenever I asked about the war, he clammed up,” says Graber.

“One night while out for dinner, and shortly before his death, my father mumbled something about feeling guilty, then refused to say more,” says Graber. She assumed it had something to do with what happened during his time in the army.

After he died, Graber realized that this was her opportunity to explore other odd comments he’d made during his lifetime. “They needled away at me; urging me to try to make sense of them; coaxing me to shape them into a story.”

“In the beginning, I knew I wanted to explore what life must have been like for military and civilian families after years of separation in the aftermath of a world war,” says Graber. “I had little to guide me in devising a plot, other than the last spoken comment about feeling guilty, an old picture of Castello di Miramare (British Eighth Army Headquarters in 1945) where my father had been billeted, and a photograph of an unknown boy on a sledge, glued into the family album, which had mysteriously disappeared.”

When her fifth published book and debut novel for adults, “The Sting of Love” (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, September 2020) begins, Georgina Drummond and her daughters, Louisa and Annabel, are visiting her father, Capt. James Alexander Drummond, in England. Readers will soon learn that the captain, who was a British soldier serving in Italy during WWII , is nearing the end of his life.

He asks his daughter to accompany him on a visit to Trieste, Italy, where he had been stationed during the war, but is reluctant to explain why. Georgina agrees to accompany him. After her daughters return home to Minnesota, she and her father embark on a journey that will change everything.

Told in the voice of the soldier between 1945 and 1946, and the voice of Georgina in 1994, it soon becomes clear why Georgina’s father struggled to adjust to life in England after the war. Secrets are revealed. Families break. Families re-shape themselves. It appears that none of us are immune from the sting of love.

Graber says the character of Georgina is very loosely based on herself. Her father served as a British officer in World War II, including the time spent in Trieste. Meeting him for the first time when she was 4 years old, is indelibly imprinted on her mind. It is also true that Graber owned a pet rabbit. But the rest of the story is made up.

“I could never have written this book while my father was still alive,” Graber said. “He would have been horrified by the plot I devised.”

Copies of “The Sting of Love” will be available for purchase through Itasca Books (orders@itascabooks.com), as well as Barnes and Noble and Amazon in September 2020.

To learn more about Graber’s work, visit janetgraber.com.

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