Strangers in Paradise by Barbara Bretton

A full-fledged Baby Boomer, Barbara Bretton grew up in New York City during the Post-World War II 1950s with the music of the Big Bands as the soundtrack to her childhood. Her father and grandfather served in the navy during the war. Her uncles served in the army. None of them shared their stories.

But her mother, who had enjoyed a brief stint as Rosie the Riveter, brought the era to life with tales of the Home Front that were better than any fairy tale. It wasn’t until much later that Barbara learned the rest of the story about the fiancĂ© who had been lost in the war, sending her mother down a different path that ultimately led to a second chance at love . . . and to the daughter who would one day tell a little part of that story.

There is always one book that’s very special to an author, one book or series that lives deep inside her heart. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY and STRANGER IN PARADISE, books 1 and 2 of the Home Front series, are Barbara’s. She hopes they’ll find a place in your heart too.

Before they became The Greatest Generation, they were young men and women in love . . .

The year is 1953 and London is throwing the party of the century. Even though the ravages of World War II are still visible throughout the kingdom, the world is gathering on the Mall to celebrate the coronation of England's beautiful young queen.

For almost ten years, journalist Mac Weaver has been far from his New York home. America has changed since the war ended and he wonders if there's still a place for him in the land of backyard barbecues and a new Ford in every driveway.

However a chance encounter with beautiful English reporter Jane Townsend is about to change his life forever. As the new monarch waves from the window of her fairy-tale glass coach, a homesick Yank and a lonely Brit fall in love.

One week later, Mr. and Mrs. Mac Weaver board the Queen Mary for New York and a guaranteed happily ever after future in the land where dreams come true.

But there are dark shadows on the horizon that threaten Mac and Jane's happiness and family scandals that just might tear them apart . . .

"This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."
--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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I grew up in 1950s New York City. The Borough of Queens, to be exact. Today you might say I was a Bridge & Tunnel girl (I wouldn’t say it, but you might!) but back when I was growing up, I was just a kid from Queens.

While Queens was only fifteen minutes away from Manhattan’s skyscrapers and yellow cabs, we might as well have been in a different world. We weren’t suburbia by a long shot, but we weren’t “The City” either . . . even though we were. (Officially Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island are part of New York City, but everyone knows that when you say “The City” you mean that $24 purchase called Manhattan.) Our street of two-family brick homes was lined with stately maples that provided dense, cooling shade during the hot and humid city summers. The small six-story apartment building across the street boasted a yellow-and-black Civil Defense sign that assured worried parents that the fallout shelter was there if (or when) we needed it.

Cornish Avenue was a true melting pot. Only one of my four grandparents had been born in this country. The others came here from England and Sweden and Romania. Doris and her family across the street had just arrived from Germany. The Martinez family up the block came from Cuba and Ireland. Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Panama, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Holland – well, you get the picture. So many people trying to get to the city I lived in while all I dreamed about was getting out.

More than anything, I wanted to move to suburbia. Levittown, to be exact. Yes, the town that Mr. Levitt built on the old Long Island potato farms. Acres of houses that all looked the same. Acres of houses that the young families of World War II and Korean War vets could actually afford. I wanted a backyard and a swing set and barbecued hamburgers every night. Maybe I just wanted to live somewhere you didn’t need bomb shelters . . .

America in the 1950s was a place of contrasts. The green lawns and Donna Reed housewives. Senator McCarthy and his witch hunts. Great prosperity from Atlantic to Pacific while eastern Europe disappeared behind the Iron Curtain.

Stranger in Paradise (Book #2 – Home Front series) opens in early June 1953. Jane Townsend is a young English reporter who is in London covering the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Mac Weaver is an American war correspondent who is covering one last story before he returns home. Swept up in the romance and glamour of the occasion, these two unlikely lovers impulsively marry then set out on the Queen Mary for New York City and their brand new life. Jane is overwhelmed by the bounty her new homeland has to offer. Steaks the size of dinner plates! Ice cold drinks! Milk and sugar and butter and cream whenever you want it, as much as you can eat! Big cars and swimming pools and babies everywhere you look.

But there are dark shadows on the horizon that threaten Mac and Jane's happiness and family scandals that just might tear them apart . . .

I hope you enjoy Stranger in Paradise. 

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