WWI North America:
The Home Front

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Spanish Flu ward at the Walter Reed hospital

Canada, still a part of the British Empire when World War I broke out, was at war from the time Britain entered it on August 4, 1914. The United States did not declare war against German and its allies until April 6, 1917.

On the home front, women had to cope with the absence of their husbands, fathers and brothers, and on the war's end, with the effects of trauma on the men in their lives. Suspicion and prejudice against Americans of German descent was virulent before and during the war, while many German-Americans with family and friends in Germany hoped the U.S. would not enter the war. Toward the end of the war, a worldwide epidemic of a virulent strain of influenza broke out.

Canadians During WWI

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Robert James Bridge, Kinmel Revisited (2006), about the Kinmel Army Camp riot in 1919, when Canadian soldiers on their way home from France were lodged in harsh conditions in camps in Wales because not enough transport ships were available; self-published.

Cathy Marie Buchanan, The Day the Falls Stood Still (2009), about the daughter of a director of the Niagara Power Company and her love for a riverman who opposes further development at Niagara Falls. Review or Author Interview (See also "Tales of Niagara Falls," an article by Buchanan about some real-life events that inspired the novel)

Frances Itani, Deafening (2003), about a deaf Canadian girl, from her childhood through her romance with a man who enlists to fight in the war.

Jane Urquhart, The Stone Carvers (2001), about the building of a monument to Canadians lost in the First World War.

Robert MacNeil, Burden of Desire (1992), about a clergyman searching for a woman who lost a sexually revealing diary in the wreckage of the munitions ship that blew up in Nova Scotia.

Ami McKay, The Birth House (2006), about a young midwife in Nova Scotia during the war years.

Hugh MacLennan, Barometer Rising (1941), about a munitions ship that exploded and partly destroyed the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917.

The U.S. Home Front During WWI

Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.

Andrea Barrett, The Air We Breathe (2007), about patients in a tuberculosis sanitarium during the war years.

Beatrice Colin, The Songwriter (2010), about three New Yorkers in the entertainment industry in 1916 as the U.S. enters the war.

Anita Diamant, The Boston Girl (2015), about the daughter of immigrant Jewish parents in Boston, beginning in 1915 when she is fifteen years old.

Glen David Good, Sunnyside (2009), a literary novel woven around the day in 1916 when mass hysteria developed around sightings of comic actor Charlie Chaplin in more than 800 locations around the country simultaneously.

Myla Goldberg, Wickett's Remedy (2005), about a young Irish-American widow from Boston who struggles to keep her husband's mail-order patent medicine business going after he dies in the 1918 influenza epidemic.

Andrew Sean Greer, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells (2013), about a depressed woman in Greenwich Village who has electroshock therapy in 1985, which transports her back in time to the very different lives she might have lived in 1918 and 1941. Review at the New York Times

Nicole Helget, The Turtle Catcher (2009), about the only daughter in a German immigrant family growing up in rural Minnesota during World War I with the secret knowledge that her body is not like that of other girls. Review

Allegra Jordan, The End of Innocence (2014), about two Harvard students who fall in love on the eve of World War I and find themselves on opposite sides of the war.

Dennis Lehane, The Given Day (2008), about two Boston families, one white, one black, during and after the First World War.

Lyn LeJeune, Elijah Rising (2011), about a wealthy young white New Yorker who follows a black fundamentalist preacher West to bring God to the uncivilized and descends into madness.

Antonia Logue, Charity Girl (2007), about a young Boston woman imprisoned for having a “social disease” during the war.

Anne Mateer, Wings of a Dream (2011), historical romance about a young woman who goes to Texas to take care of her ill aunt while her aviator fiance serves in the war, and unexpectedly finds herself falling in love with another man; Christian message.

Leila Meacham, Roses (2010), a family saga beginning with a sixteen-year-old girl in a small Texas town who must take over the management of her family's cotton plantation when her brother goes to war.

Leila Meacham, Somerset (2014), a family saga about a man who leaves South Carolina as a young man in 1835 to settle in Texas, and his wife and children; prequel to Roses.

Siri L. Mitchell, A Heart Most Worthy (2011), historical romance about an Italian immigrant in 1918 who lives in a Boston tenement and works as a seamstress making gowns for wealthy women, which brings her in contact with a young man of the upper class; Christian message.

Thomas Mullen, The Last Town on Earth (2006), about a small town in Washington State that quarantined itself from the outside world in 1918 to prevent the Spanish Flu epidemic from reaching them, and what happens when an apparently ill soldier arrives and asks for sanctuary.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, Under the Same Blue Sky (2015), about a daughter of German immigrants who leaves Pittsburgh to take a teaching job in a rural community during World War I.

Christina Schwarz, Drowning Ruth (2000), about tragic family secrets in the aftermath of the First World War.

Elswyth Thane, The Light Heart (1947), about two Virginia families during World War I; #4 in the Williamsburg novels.

Elswyth Thane, Kissing Kin (1948), about two Virginia families during World War I; #5 in the Williamsburg novels (#6 and #7 set during World War II).

Jane Urquhart, The Underpainter (1997), about an American artist whose technique involves painting a scene and then adding another layer that obscures it.

Ann Weisgarber, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree (2008), about a black family in South Dakota in 1917.

J. Robert Whittle and Joyce Sandilands, Whispers Across Time (2007), about a Seattle journalist in 1916 who discovers he is a mortal angel who can travel in time; self-published.

Beatriz Williams, Overseas (2012), about a present-day woman working as a Wall Street analyst who falls in love with a British billionaire whose secret is that he is from another time, in which he is an officer fighting in the World War I trenches in 1916.

Janice Woods Windle, Will's War (2002), about prejudice against Americans of German descent in World War I Texas.

Cat Winters, The Uninvited (2015), about a young woman who can see the spirits of the dead, and who leaves home after recovering from the flu during the epidemic of 1918.

Hazel Woods, This Is How I’d Love You (2014), about a lonely young woman who, after her family moves to New Mexico, begins a secret correspondence with a medic serving overseas.

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