Christmas Hope


1916: Corporal Harry Wheatly accidently drops his grandmother’s Bible in the Somme. Simultaneously, a widow is going by in her barque, sees the Bible and retrieves it as Harry watches. His boatman follows her so he can reclaim his treasure. The widow is Rosemarie Legrande who is a pariah because her husband, before he dies, declares her a German sympathizer. Harry notices how enchanting Rosemarie is, and they strike up a conversation. He plays with her small son, Marcel, and Rosemarie offers to dry the book for him. He now has an excuse to return. At Christmas, he is able to bring a small cache of goods to her and her son. While he is stationed near her, he visits often. Smitten, Harry writes letters to Rosemarie as the war carries him onward. The following Christmas, Harry is once more in the safety of Rosemarie’s small cottage.

“Christmas Hope” delivers that small sliver of hope that everyone holds onto with both hands during wartime. The Bible represents that hope for Rosemarie, and as long as it is in her possession, she can believe Harry will be back. The world-building is excellently done, and one can indeed see the filth of the foxholes along with the destruction and ruin of the morale of the men in them. Some scenes in this account tend to drag, giving a bit too much detail. The story rushes when Rosemarie is making her way back to Marcel. This tale is unique with its frequent use of French and Marcel’s accent. The repetition of the mundane gives the further feel of waiting for Harry. A must read!

Belinda Wilson