An Unexpected Coddiwomple

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

I was so happy to have the opportunity to review An Unexpected Coddiwomple. Thanks go out to NetGalley, W. Brand Publishing and author Loretto M. Thompson for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The author tells her father's story through a collection of WWII letters she found. Through her father's own words, Loretto uncovers truths about her parentage that were buried with him in 1965, revealing decades of mysteries that culminate with an invitation to Buckingham Palace. It's a story of family, duty, faith, and a life transformed. It's a story of love. I enjoyed the book, I must say. Simply said, this is a well written, interesting book and I highly recommend it!
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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more interested in looking through old papers that my family has kept. I’ve learned about family members that I never knew, just as Loretto M. Thompson did in An Unexpected Coddiwomple. That is one thing that interested me in this book.

Through letters written by her father, Loretto was able to piece together what her father was like. His letters home provided insight into what he went through during his time in the service. I know it helped her get to know her father, but it helps those of us who lived after that time understand what it was like, too.

The letters provide a glimpse of what life was like, the challenges people faced, and the danger that came with fighting in the war. The book serves to share that history with people today.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Loretto's father died when she was a small child, due to this she only has a few memories and doesn't really know who her father was.  As an adult, she discovers that while serving in WWII, her father wrote to his mother nearly every day. She decided to type up these letters and bind them as a gift for her 6 siblings, which resulted in An Unexpected Coddiwomple.  
These letters are typed up as written, there are words we rarely see anymore, such as youse, spelling errors and other grammatical errors, but this adds to the charm.  It's a GI writing home in war time.  Many of the subjects are repetitive, but he was also writing nearly every single day.  These letters let us have a unique view into the life of a GI, and better yet, it was during WWII.  I believe this complete access to be unprecedented, to have one man's letters and information to be so complete.  This was an interesting and fun book.
I was given an ARC by #NetGalley for my honest opinion of #AnUnexpectedCoddiwomple.
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What a delightful insight into a young man's life in the early 1940s. 
This is a series of letters from a young man to his family, interspersed with the modern day discoveries and developments that the author had as she discovered the letters that were hidden away for so long. 

Yes, it is repetitive - but his life was repetitive. However, amidst the daily grind we see a young man who had a strong faith, a strong sense of duty & a loyalty to his family & friends that is second to none. We get a glimpse into a young man who had an eye for pretty girls, yet treated them well, who had a penchant for cake and who loved receiving letters from home. We see his excitement in receiving a package coupled with his worry about whether those at home could do without the small treats they were sending him. 

The author has chosen to replicate the letters as they were originally written, with misspellings, archaic phrases & words we just wouldn't use these days. This makes it uncomfortable in parts to read, but at the same time it is completely appropriate in this context & I was struck by some of the heartfelt messages that this young man sends home: "I am trying my best to keep well and bring you back a better if possible, piece of carcass that the one I took away"
It's a unique glimpse into a world that many of us have never known - and I like to think that maybe when my own Grandfather did his basic flying training in the USA in the early 1940s, that he may have met Frank or somebody like him. 

Thank you for sharing Frank's story with us.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this free from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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This is “the real dope” as your father phrased it. Life learning the Army ropes, waiting for the Army to decide what to do with Frances George (bows!) then training him to do it. The highs, the lows, the funny and the boring moments of life in “this man’s army” are there but magically your father is there, too. I was tickled as you discovered the little things about him that you never thought you’d know and began to see bits of him in you. I enjoyed the modern day parts during which you pieced together where he’d been, who were some of the people mentioned in the letters, and went to the places he’d been stationed. Meeting with the captain whose skillful piloting saved all their lives must have been such a thrill as well as traveling to Suffolk in the UK and getting your Goldfish patch.

Your father’s personality, wit, insight and intelligence come through in his (well, almost) daily letters home. The letter from one of Frank’s pals to your grandmother must have touched her deeply. She did, indeed, raise a fine young man, someone you happily now know, too. B
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Thank you to the author for taking the reader on your journey! Not many of us get such an intimate glimpse into our parents' lives and it is even more amazing that this happened after the death of a father that the author wasn't close to via letters.  I cannot imagine what it was like to track down the places and people from her father's past and how much she learned about not him, but herself because of this.
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