I have read enough books to know not to judge a book by its cover but I’m guilty in doing with Grand Central, Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion, which contains ten stories by award winning authors. This cover is spectacular and it summed up everything I was craving to read, war time lovers about to embrace at a historically romantic location. I wanted to experience that cover again and again with each story. But let me be blunt, most of these stories are not that cover. Not to say that they aren't extremely well written and historically researched but it's almost like most of them had a bet on who could write the most potent tear jerking story, spotlighting many historical shames of our past.
The Tearjerkers: The book started off amazing with the bittersweet story called “Going Home” by Alyson Richman. This story is worth the entire book and I was only disappointed when it was over because I wanted to read more about her characters. Then the book heads into a dark direction with the next story, the Lucky One by Jenna Blum, which leaves the readers feeling a sharp bitter sadness. Next, the Branch of Hazel by Sarah McCoy felt like a PSA to shine a light on a dark piece of our history that few know about. By the time I read The Kissing Room by Melanie Benjamin, I needed a spark of happiness but I felt completely sucker punched when reading about this young naïve girl which had nothing to do with the theme of postwar love and reunion, it’s only seemingly connection was the time period set in the tragic story. Finally, I’ll Walk Alone by Erika Robuck will make a woman feel fortunate to live in this time period and have more resources to leave an abusive situation.
Inspired by the Cover: The main stories that actually incorporated the theme of love with a soldier and utilized the train station in their storylines were I’ll be seeing you by Sarah Jio and The Harvest Season by Karen White.
Top Kudos goes to The Reunion by Kristina McMorris, Tin Town by Amanda Hodgkinson and Strand of Perils by Pam Jenoff. They did a great job of educating/entertaining readers with a piece of our history while giving a real sense of what it was like for women in that time period but without feeling like you needed an anti-depressant by the final page.
I fully disclose that I was not familiar with any of these authors, except the talented Kristina McMorris, prior to this book. I have read other reviews from fans who were delighted in their favorite authors’ stories and they saw connections and storyline continuations/parallels from their previous works. History with these authors and interest in this time period will influence how readers feel about this book.
There were some truly excellent stories in this book and I appreciate their researching efforts and the way they added a slice into their stories to connect them. I just wish the emotional flow of the book hadn’t started at the second story with such darkness that I almost put the book down. I’m glad I didn’t because the stories by Alyson Richman, Kristina McMorris, Amanda Hodgkinson and Pam Jenoff were extremely rich and powerful. It is my hope that since I have listed the darker ones, readers can make their own playlist so they can read a story to match their mood.
A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform?
A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother?
A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room?
On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell.
Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set on the same day, just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal?.