Shannon here: Linda Shenton Matchett shares the inspiration for her Historical Romance, Love’s Allegiance. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy. One paperback copy to a U.S. winner or an ebook version to a non-US winner. Deadline: Oct 26th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Linda:
Love’s Allegiance is the fourth and final (unless God has other ideas!) book in my Wartime Brides series, a quadrilogy of novellas that retells Old Testament Bible stories set during the World War II era. During my brainstorming period, I happened to be on the phone with my brother and mentioned I wasn’t sure which direction to go with the last book. Without missing a beat, he suggested a story about Rebekah and Isaac revolving around the topic of conscientious objection.
On to research…
I read autobiographies and memoirs, and watched oral history interviews. The common threads for the conscientious objectors seemed to be a need to justify their actions, prove they loved their country as much as those who took up arms to defend it, and demonstrate they were not cowards.
During WWII, more than 12,000 draftees were awarded conscientious objector (CO) status. Registrants completed a questionnaire and indicated whether or not they were opposed to military service because of religious training or belief. Once selected, the individual could choose to be join the armed forces in a noncombatant role such as medic or be assigned to perform “work of national importance.”
This work was handled through the Civilian Pubic Service organization who managed 152 camps through the United States and Puerto Rico. The men performed soil conservation, forestry work, firefighting, and agriculture. A large percentage of the men also provided social services and mental health services. CPS men served without wages and received minimal support from the federal government. The cost of maintaining the camps and providing for the needs of the men was the responsibility of their congregations and families.
Some conscientious objectors felt that their assignments were “make work” and not nationally significant as promised. As a result, some volunteered to be test subjects in human medical experiments under the direction of the Surgeon General at med schools around the country. Research included inoculating the men with hepatitis and malaria and exposing them to soldiers infected with colds and pneumonia. The most extreme project was the Minnesota Starvation Experiment during which thirty-six men were put on the “famine diet” experienced by the civilian population in wartime Europe. The study’s findings were made available to all major relief organizations and used to craft the plan for assistance after the war.
About Linda: Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Love’s Allegiance:
With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.
Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.
Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?
Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now! Love’s Allegiance
Question for Readers: Would you have been brave enough to volunteer to be a human test subject?
Come back Oct 15th for Suzanne Bratcher!