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Blood, Dreams, and Olive Drab, by Michael A. Meissner

Different

In the 1940s, the everyday stories of individual people unfolded against the backdrop of the great story of a world in collision.
Henry is a young man with a haunted past that follows him to war-torn Europe where he is stationed in a makeshift morgue in a small village. He fights to keep his senses as he witnesses the gruesomeness of so much death. These horrible sights bring a deluge of memories from his boyhood days on his parents’ farm, and his nightmares strip away his courage. His commanding officer, a belligerent drunk named Sergeant Welky, pushes Henry over the edge even as Henry courts a peasant girl from the village. Mayhem follows Henry through his life and he struggles to keep his sanity, find love, and live a normal life. Sarah grows up the eldest daughter of a drunken miscreant, Paul, and a kind mother, Angela, who fights to protect her three girls. All the while Angela is trying to raise the children, she desperately supports her misguided husband. Paul, the father and a farmer who is the family’s sole provider, hurts a kindly neighbor and his own daughter in a drunken rage. The town rejects him and Angela needs to find work. She takes a job in a lounge and fights off the vile advances of the owner. Sarah, their daughter, goes to the club one night to walk her mother home and meets a singer who discovers her extraordinary singing talent and gives her direction. Sarah is smitten with her newly found ability and dreams of leaving her tiny world of dysfunctional family behind. Turmoil and scandal erupt between Angela, Paul, and the lounge owner, and Paul takes the law into his own hands in a violent and vengeful act. He must flee the town and leaves his wife to raise the children. Sarah pushes harder to sing and is torn between leaving her poor mother and finding a different life for herself. These two lost souls, Henry and Sarah, have searched for an escape and a love that will make them whole, but behind every ray of hope is a dark shadow of despair. Henry comes back from the war and has a terrible fight with his father. When he ventures off to the local watering hole to drown his emotions, he chances upon what he sees as a light of promise singing on the stage. Sarah is just as taken with Henry, and Angela’s worst fear is realized. Her daughter may have met a man who is just as confused and mad as her father. Sarah and Henry fall in love and mistakenly believe that they are both damaged goods and that the only person for each of them is . . . the other.