Blooms of War
In war, she fell in love.
Vera Betts shouldn’t be falling in love with the enigmatic doctor she suspects of espionage. Reeling from her family’s betrayal, she’s faked her nursing credentials, invented a new name, and run away to the frontlines of the French battlefield. Four years into the Great War and she knows who she is and what she’s meant for—to save the living and sit vigil by the dying. When the cagey-yet-earnest Dr. Nicholas Wallace arrives, so do mysterious explosions destroying hospitals. Even as Nick raises her suspicions, he lowers her defenses. He wants the war to end. Are his acts of sabotage politically motivated or a desperate attempt at peace?
In peace, she fell apart.
A year later, Vera is back with her oppressive family, living under her real name, and Nick is on trial for murder. Trapped in grief and guilt, she cannot speak about the past and does not believe in the future. With Nick refusing to defend himself, she ventures to London to understand why he is so willing to embrace the hangman’s noose. Who is he trying to protect? What secrets does he plan to carry to his grave? And why does Nick insist upon hiding her true identity? To save the man she loves, Vera must tear open the past and confront the tragic price for peace.
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blooms-War-Evocative-Emotional-Story-ebook/dp/B08CY87LW9/
US – https://www.amazon.com/Blooms-War-Evocative-Emotional-Story-ebook/dp/B08CY87LW9/
From the author:
LOVERS ALONG A POCKMARKED SEA
Blooms of War is set during WWI and in the year after. While there is mystery, espionage, gruesome medical scenes, courtroom drama, family secrets, and betrayal, most importantly, there is love. Because love is what transforms the heroine, a war-exhausted, too-young-to-be on the frontlines nurse into a woman who grows, transforms, learns to trust, discovers how to hope, and thrives.
But given the backdrop, I struggled with the first kiss between the heroine, Vera, and the hero, Nick. The war is at world. People are dying. Nick and Vera treat the severely injured. Is there really room for light moments? How do you give these two dedicated professionals the quiet space to let their love bloom? And how do you do it without belittling the toll war takes?
If you’re a writer, you have to capture the mood and turn off the inner critic and the only way I know how to do that is to find a song that encapsulates the moment and put it on repeat until the scene is done. I am not exaggerating when I confess that I cannot write if I don’t have the perfect song playing. Without the song, I’m better off mopping the floor.
For the first kiss, I needed something playful, innocent, refreshing, and a touch melancholy. It had to reflect the joy of the moment, and also acknowledge that these are just moments on a larger stage. And yet, it’s the small moments that define us.
So the song I finally found was, “Sweet Disposition” by Temper Trap. With its upbeat tempo and nostalgic feel, it carries just the right amount of earnestness and sweetness for the scene. And the lyrics:
A moment, a love
A dream aloud
A kiss, a cry
Our rights, our wrongs
Leading up to their first Kiss, Nick and Vera meet by coincidence (FATE says the author) on the beach. They flirt, chase the windswept pages of a letter that has fallen from her pocket, joke, argue about the politics of war, and at last…
Do my lips reach his first? Or his mine? Does it matter? We mold ourselves to each other so our tongues can meet, drifting and sliding, touching and tangling in the chop and wave of desire. I flick my tongue to the silver-white scar above his mouth. It’s in the wounds that one divines a man’s secrets. It’s in my sigh that I confess mine.
With the water lapping at our ankles, time is suspended. Sopwith Camels and white crosses and war be damned. There is a we. Only us two, searching and finding room to breathe, a place beyond the floating death cans and drowned sailors, beyond the pockmarks of the scarred sea.
So, if you happen to be browsing for a song that makes you dance even though you know you’ll be sad when the dance is over, may I suggest “Sweet Disposition”?
If you’re interested, I’ve compiled the songs behind Blooms of War into a Youtube Playlist for your listening pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZAQzR8c7tFQOGTMCkrrNWrAt7yC5qoFh
Writer of lush, historical happily-ever-after tales, Suzanne Tierney believes in true love. But she takes delicious pleasure in making her characters fight, flutter, and find their way to each other. Her books have won numerous awards and she has twice been a Golden Heart Finalist® with the Romance Writers of America.
Suzanne grew up in Oregon, adulted in the San Francisco Bay Area, and somehow ended up in Florida, where she is very much a cold-water fish learning to navigate humid, salty seas. She loves chatting with readers.
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