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Focused on the period between the wars (1927 – 1939), A Cruel Calm, visits an era of innovation on all levels when Paris was the cultural capital of the world. With Charles Lindbergh, James Joyce, Coco Chanel, Gertrude Stein, Joseph Campbell, Hemingway, Picasso, e e cummings, Amelia Earhart and Besse Coleman, my historical fiction, which took 15 years to research and write, depicts both history and the protagonist’s poignant pursuit of love.
Although the era of Paris between the wars was a showcase of artistic, technological and cultural dynamism and change, other forces 3erre at work. One Great War had ended. Its tragedy was obvious visually and emotionally. The next ‘great war’ , however, was simmering, drawing strength from the issues unresolved by the first conflict. Lindbergh closed the gap between two great powers, the European and the United States, by flying solo across the Atlantic. Aviation was enjoying its golden age, a positive legacy of the war.
The Catholic Church, however, sank its heels in tradition. While individuals anguished, the Church was unrelenting in its stance toward annulments. This is the story of one of those individuals, my mother, and her quest.
There is nothing stable in the world; uproar’s your only music.
"The War confirmed that the Western world is culturally bankrupt," claimed the gentleman sitting at the far end of the long rectangular table the restaurant had set up in the back of the dining area. "Certainly, Western civilization as we knew it before 1914 is lost forever.”
The room was warm and stuffy. Smoke was puffed into the air from cigarettes by both men and women. I was certainly not one to take on this habit even though many physicians argue for the cigarette's pathophysiological innocence and psychological benefit. Nevertheless, despite the cigarette’s supposed attributes, the mood was grim.
“Was it the War that destroyed the romance we knew before or was all that an illusion?” I had to lean across the table to see who was speaking. It came from a lady with the look of stoic dignity. “Did that catastrophe then destroy illusion and put truth back in its place?” Silence prevailed as everyone around the table seemed to be contemplating her somewhat caustic comment. After taking a sip of wine, she continued. “Yes indeed, which was truth and which illusion?” The lady’s name was Virginia Woolf, an elegant woman in her mid forties, her voice very clipped and so refinedly British, it was a bit difficult to understand. Again, her question appeared to be rhetorical since she continued, this time without a pause. “For my belief is that if we live another century or so; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think, then perhaps our relation, not to each other, but to the world of reality will … ”
A dark haired, fair skinned lady with piercing blue eyes on her right finished the sentence with embellishment, “allow us to grow and know the truth.” Clearly, this was not a timid group. The evening meal had been taken away and only liquid refreshments remained on the table. This was the time for talk.
The theme for this evening’s discussion was the aftermath of the Great War. I was honored to be included in such a prestigious group of writers despite being not only too young to have shared their experiences, but having been, until recently, living on the other side of the Atlantic where vestiges of war were unknown. However, I did have one relative who had crossed the ocean and had courageously participated. Before we left Washington for France, my mother gave me a copy of a letter my Uncle William had written from the trenches. I had placed the envelope with the missive in my pocket before leaving our apartment in anticipation of possibly sharing it with this eminent group.
Soft sounds of sotto voce chattering surrounded the table until another lady clicked her glass so the rest of us would listen. During the war, she had driven an ambulance. "I saw it on their faces,” she said somberly, “the wounded and the dying. They had sacrificed their lives for an ideal.” Heads nodded. “And why? Did they hate the Germans that much? No, for the French, it was 'La Gloire' that was France. For the Americans, it was 'for democracy'. And for me, nursing and driving the wounded was 'the right thing to do'. But that was in the beginning. Soon, it became my life. For years I knew little sleep, few baths, constant exhaustion, bombs, gas, filth, dirt and blood. I stopped questioning. I think that my emotions overtook my intellect. Maybe I became less civilized but maybe, just maybe, I am more civilized now." I discovered later that she was an American who had spent most of her adult life in France. No wonder she had such an objective perception of the war.
Sitting adjacent to the American was a middle-aged woman dressed in black. She appeared to be in continuous mourning for what she had experienced. Her words confirmed what I suspected. “When you have been through a war like the last one, you come to believe in the supernatural. I saw boys lying on their stretchers just before they died. I listened as they talked to their sweethearts back home. It was just as if they could see them standing next to their cots. Yes, anything is possible when you have experienced that war.”
Robert Goodman, Founder San Diego Publishers Alliance San Diego, CA
"On the surface, "Forbidden Loves" is a romantic "coming of age" novel about love, loss, and redemption It throws in a surprising ending to boot. But it's not "just" a love story. As the novel works out its story line, it brings to life a society and a culture that would otherwise be hauntingly unfamiliar to today's readers.
"Daly-Lipe spices up her story with side trips to such diverse areas as the history of aviation. the American exile community in Paris, modern art, Hannibal, and the Catholic church. The diverse characters include Charles Lindbergh, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein--and each of them belongs in the story.
“I don't want to give away the plot of Forbidden Loves. It takes many unexpected twists before it arrives at the ultimate twist at its end. The story is worth reading without anticipating anything but surprises. This is not the type of book I normally read, nevertheless, I enjoyed it enormously.”
by Barbara Bell Matuszewski, Vero Beach Branch, NLAPW for The Pen Woman a publication of the National League of American Pen Woman, Inc.
This Book could be classified as "fictionalized nonfiction" according to some of its promotion literature and reviews. It is one of five produced by the author.
Forbidden Loves (1st edition of A Cruel Calm) has earned Patricia The Amazon 5-Star Award. As one reviewer wrote, the book is not only a love story, but also "works out its story line…brings to life a society and a culture that would otherwise be hauntingly unfamiliar to today's readers."
The author spices up the story with "side trips" to discover the history of aviation, the American "exile" community in Paris, modern art, Hannibal, and the Catholic church—and with such characters from life as Charles Lindbergh, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein.
As still another reviewer said, she liked the quotes at the beginnings of chapters—for example, from Ulysses by James Joyce, "History…is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Equally fascinating are quotations submerged in the text as well as bits and pieces of the author's poetry. No question; this book is carefully researched and well-written, whether you classify it as fiction or fact.
Rita Mae Brown, author
“Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all—well, yes and no. Read Forbidden Loves’ view of this age old dilemma.”
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