Today we're spotlighting Caroline Leech's novel, Wait For Me!!
Read on for more about Caroline, her novel, the first chapter reveal, and a giveaway!
Meet Caroline Leech!
Caroline Leech is a Scottish writer who moved to Texas for an adventure ten years ago. In addition to writing YA fiction, she blogs a lot, reads a lot, and almost always has an audiobook playing through her headphones. She lives in Houston with her husband and three teenage children. WAIT FOR ME is her debut novel and she can be found online at www.carolineleech.com and @carolinesblurb.
Meet Wait For Me!
A breathtaking WW2 romance for fans of Elizabeth Wein’s CODE NAME VERITY and Ruta Sepetys’s BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY.
Can their love survive a war?
It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?
But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.
EXCERPT – FIRST CHAPTER ONLY
CRAIGIELAW FARM, ABERLADY, EAST LOTHIAN, SCOTLAND
FEBRUARY 8, 1945
Lorna Anderson was ankle deep in muck and milk. And she was late. Again.
She really didn’t have time to clean up yet another of Nellie’s messes and still make it to school before the bell. Of course, this wasn’t the first time that Lorna had somewhere important to be, yet here she was, broom in hand.
And to make Lorna’s morning complete, her dad was raging at Nellie.
“What in the devil’s name did you think you were doing, you glaikit girl? Can you not even carry a bucket without dropping the damn thing?”
“But Mr. Anderson—” began Nellie.
Lorna kept her head down and the yard broom moving. She tried to push the dogs away from the reeking, steaming mess, but Canny and Caddy dodged around her. They were determined to lick the spilled milk from every crevice in the farmyard’s cobblestones, savoring this rare treat, and apparently oblivious to the shouting above their heads.
“If you’d been concentrating on the matter in hand, lassie,” her dad continued, “you wouldn’t have all these accidents. Particularly when the matter in your hand is a big bucket of my cows’ milk.”
The farmer’s bulk cast a threatening shadow over Nellie, so petite even in her thick and unflattering Land Girl uniform, but Lorna wasn’t too worried. Nellie was made of stronger stuff. Right on cue, Nellie trilled cheerily,
“Oh, Mr. Anderson, you know what they say about not crying over spilled milk!”
Nellie winked at Lorna, who smiled in spite of herself. Since Nellie had been posted to their farm two years ago by the Women’s Land Army, Lorna had come to love her like the older sister she’d never had, though even Lorna could not deny that Nellie was as clumsy as clumsy came. Yet Nellie had an unshakable confidence that Lorna’s father, and indeed every other man within fifty miles, would be putty in her hands if she flashed him her most dazzling smile. And she was usually right.
Nellie picked up the pail and sauntered back into the milking parlor with Caddy trotting in her wake, the border collie puppy following like a black-and-white shadow in case of further delicious catastrophes. Caddy’s mother, Canny, gave a soft yelp, but the little dog still disappeared hopefully after Nellie.
Lorna’s dad shook his head with an exasperated sigh, and Canny sniffed at his hand, as if to commiserate with him about the youngsters of today.
Lorna’s dad gave his dog’s head a quick pat, then took the yard broom from Lorna and starting sweeping ferociously.
A screech of brakes made Lorna turn. A truck was pulling into the yard, but it was not one of their regulars from the feed merchant or the dairy. This one was painted in army green, and a dozen men in dark uniforms perched on benches in the flatbed at the back.
Lorna’s father stopped sweeping and raised his eyes heavenward. “Thank the Lord!” he said. “At last, someone to save me from all you women!”
“Dad?” Lorna said. “Who are—?”
Some of the men were looking around at the farm buildings, others stared at the floor. Some looked directly and unnervingly at her.
“They’ve sent a new man to work on the farm,” Lorna’s dad said, one hand squeezing her shoulder, “but it’s nothing to concern you just now. Anyway, don’t you have an exam this morning?”
Lorna opened her mouth to tell him that calculus could wait. She was almost eighteen, and when she left school in June, she’d be helping him to run the farm, so he ought to be telling her what this was all about. But before Lorna could say anything, a hugely muscled British soldier climbed down from the truck driver’s seat. He had three stripes across the straining arm of his uniform. A sergeant, she realized, just like her oldest brother, John Jo. For a moment, Lorna wondered where her elder brother was right then.
As her father walked toward the sergeant and the truck, a thickset man whose head was closely shaven but whose chin was not called out. He waved at Lorna and said something to her, his voice harsh and guttural. Even if she didn’t understand him, she recognized the language from the newsreels, and her heart leaped to her throat. He was speaking German.
He called again, and some of the others laughed. Suddenly Lorna felt exposed and awkward, and then the familiar burn of a blush began to creep up her neck.
The sergeant dropped the tailboard down with a clatter, startling the three cats sidling toward the milky cobbles.
“Army’s been puttin’ up proper fences over at Gosford for a week or so now,” he said, “gettin’ the camp secure for these blokes. I don’t know why, though. It’s not like they’ll be chained up or nothin’. Too busy workin’ for their keep, from what I hear.”
He beckoned someone forward with a stubby finger. “Vogel! Your turn, Sunshine, down you come!”
Lorna grabbed at her father’s sleeve while not taking her eyes from the men in the truck. Then her dad was growling in her ear. “Stop gawping, girl, and go!”
“But they’re Germans,” she said. “The enemy! You can’t be bringing enemy soldiers onto our farm, Dad. No!”
“They’re prisoners of war now, not soldiers. Sure, that Mr. Hitler is the devil in jackboots, but the war is over for these chaps. And since they’re fit and able young men, they can damn well do a man’s work around this farm—”
“But Dad!” Her annoyance now obscured her embarrassment. “We’re coping just fine—”
“—until your brothers come back.”
“If they ever come back.”
Even as she said it, Lorna knew she’d overstepped the mark, and she hoped her father hadn’t heard. He had.
“Do not tell me how to run my farm!”
He pointed deliberately in the direction of the village and the school. As Lorna began to argue, a prisoner—had the sergeant called him “Vogel”?—jumped down from the truck, stumbling as he landed, his back to them. He quickly righted his balance. Tall and skinny, his dark gray uniform didn’t fit him. The pants were baggy and too short, and the jacket swamped his gaunt frame. He had the same haircut as the others, shaved close, and his neck was scrawny and pale. He was just a boy, and it looked as if a puff of wind would blow him away.
But then the boy turned toward them and Lorna could see a high cheekbone and strong jawline. All right, perhaps he was more a man, but still . . . Then he faced them full-on, and Lorna’s irritation was instantly extinguished, her shock catching her throat.
Half the boy’s face was gone.
No, that wasn’t quite right. His face was there, but from his left temple to his chin, across his cheek and down the left side of his throat, the pale skin had been burned away, leaving raw red scarring, tight and shiny. The flesh was puckered into the knotted remnants of an earlobe, and his left eye was stretched out of shape, round elongating to oval.
Lorna was horrified. What had happened? What had done that to him? She didn’t know what she’d been expecting, but not that. And then an awful thought struck her. Had this terrible damage been inflicted by a British soldier like John Jo? Lorna felt sick at the thought, but still she could not look away.
“Christ Almighty!” her father muttered.
Then the sergeant walked in front of her, and the spell was broken. “Don’t look so scared, love, he won’t bite.” He seemed to find her discomfort amusing. “Well, not until he knows you better. Ain’t he a horrible sight?”
Lorna glanced again toward the prisoner. Had he heard that?
The sergeant chuckled.
“Don’t worry, love, he doesn’t speak a word of the King’s English. None of ’em do.” He gestured to the German. “Doo haff nine English, eh, Fritz?”
Was that even German?
The prisoner stood straight and still. His expression—or as much of it as she could interpret from the undamaged side of his face—was impassive. A mask. Perhaps the driver was right, and he hadn’t understood the insult.
As the sergeant gave them a mock salute and clambered back into the truck, Lorna struggled to remember what she had been saying before that awful scarred face had forced everything else from her mind.
As the army truck reversed across the farmyard, Lorna forced herself to look at the soldier again. He was glowering—maybe—the undamaged side of his forehead creased into a frown, but really, what expression could she ever hope to read there?
The rumble of the truck faded into the morning chill, and Lorna’s father rubbed his hand over his face. For all his gruffness and bad temper with Nellie, he suddenly looked very weary. Had he been as shocked as Lorna?
Her father walked to where the German waited. “I’m John Anderson and this is my farm,” he said, slower and louder than necessary. “I have two boys of my own away at the war, so you’ll work in their place.”
The prisoner appeared to be listening politely, even if he couldn’t understand the words. He did, however, give Lorna’s father a curt nod.
“You don’t need to bow to me, son, just do your work. Oh, and this is my daughter,” Lorna’s father said as he saw she was still standing behind him, “who should be in an exam room right now.”
But Lorna barely heard what he said. The German was looking at her, and Lorna shivered. His eyes were steel gray, glinting silver, hard and cold and angry. Then his gaze fell to her school uniform and woolen stockings, her milk-and-muck-spattered shoes. The right, undamaged side of his face rose in a sneer.
Or was it a smile?
No, definitely a sneer.
He looked up again at Lorna and gave her one of those curt nods. Then, without another look in her direction, he followed her father, leaving Lorna alone in the yard. The rooster crowed again, as if it were already time for—
School! The bloody exam! Lorna was late and Mrs. Murray would kill her. As she grabbed her coat and schoolbag from beside the gate, she scraped her knuckles on the wall and had to suck at the graze to stop it bleeding as she took off running toward the shortcut past the church. The path would be muddy, but her shoes couldn’t get much filthier than they were already.
As she ran, Lorna resolved to forget about the German for now, to forget that her dad had invited the enemy onto their farm, into their home. But still, there was the way the German had looked at the mess on her shoes, his burned face, his angry eyes, and his distorted smile—no, his sneer—and somehow that made her run all the faster.
Wait For Me
By: Caroline Leech
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
There will be one winner, and they will win one of the author’s first copies of the US Hardback edition of the book – signed and personalized – along with some WAIT FOR ME swag, including a tote bag, bracelet, bookmarks and postcards ~ (International)
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