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When Valley's Bloom Again...

Dear Readers: I love everything from the UK from the gardens to the Royals, not to mention the tea. When I stumbled on author Pat Jeanne Davis, I knew I would want to share her with you.

Her novel When Valleys Bloom Again is set in the Untied Kingdom and America during the war. Let me introduce her to you: Thank you, Jackie, for the opportunity to have your readers get to know a little about me and my writing.

Pat Jeanne, tell us about your novel When Valleys Bloom Again. What is it about? As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Then Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate. Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage? Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim? Why would someone want to read your book? As the ranks of those who lived through the WWII era gets smaller, I wanted to highlight their lives in an instructive and entertaining way. When Valleys Bloom Again, a story that offers inspiration and hope, unfolds through the eyes of Abby Stapleton from an estate on Philadelphia’s Main Line with its landscaped gardens, to the bombed-out inner-city and suburbs of London to the battlefield in North Africa and Normandy. How did you come to set it in the United Kingdom? I have family in the US that served in the European Theater during WWII. When war was declared by England in 1939, my father-in-law was conscripted into the British Eight Army and served his country until 1946. I’m also a confirmed Anglophile living near many magnificent estates along the Philadelphia Main Line. I’ve had a keen interest in this period of history and hoped to some day write a faith based novel with an Anglo-American connection set during those dark days of the war. I can tell you love all things from England, where did this love come from? On my first trip to England with my British-born husband, John, shortly after we were married in 1983.

What is your favorite spot in England? I have so many. The Cotswolds are one of my top favorites. My husband's family at one time lived in this area. On each trip back, we always try to include this most picturesque region to revisit. The Lake District is also high up on my list of places to spend more time in while touring England. I prefer the villages to the larger cities. What about English food? What do you like best? And of course English tea, which is your favorite? Until recently my husband I always stayed for several weeks with a dear friend living in Cheshire. I have wonderful memories of her home cooked meals, especially her lamb dishes and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. On many occasions when eating out, I've enjoyed an early morning full English breakfast packed with enough calories to take me through the day until a late evening meal. Not to be overlooked is steak & ale pie, fish and chips served with malt vinegar, and pub food that is readily available. Until I discovered Yorkshire tea, I wasn't a tea drinker. Even the decaffeinated variety delivers a wonderful pick-me-up, especially when brewed in a lovely teapot covered with a tea cosy.

How did you research your historic writing to feel so real? For my novel, When Valleys Bloom Again, I traveled to distant and unfamiliar places in order to immerse myself in the era and the setting of my story’s world. On repeated trips to England, I combined visiting family there with more research for my novel in progress. I visited living museums throughout England where people went about their tasks in clothing that would’ve been worn during the 1940’s. The guides were always helpful and eager to share what they’d learned. I entered an actual air