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Those Girls Have Got Grit by Linda Shenton Matchett

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – CIRCA 2002: A stamp printed in USA dedicated to Women in Journalism shows Nellie Bly circa 2002

“I have too frequently received the impression that women war correspondents were an irritating nuisance, and I wish to point out that none of us would have our jobs unless we knew how to do them and this curious condescending treatment is as ridiculous as it is undignified,” wrote journalist Martha Gellhorn to military authorities in 1944.

To be allowed in a war zone, the government required reporters to attain accreditation, a long and tedious process. In exchange for adherence to regulations, the military would provide transportation, meals and lodging, and transmit the writer’s article. Unfortunately the 127 accredited women correspondents often found themselves up against attitudes of ridicule, contempt, and hostility combined with miles of red tape as officers refused to take the “girls” behind the lines. Instead, these women had to coerce, bribe, or charm their way onto jeeps, trucks, or ships.

Given the excuse it was too dangerous for a woman to fly from England to North Africa, Margaret Bourke-White’s request to cover the campaign was denied. Eager to see the action, she secured passage on a ship which was torpedoed almost immediately. Undeterred, she grabbed her camera and climbed aboard a lifeboat where she produced an article about the dangers of wartime sea travel.

Dickey Chappelle, a petite, bespectacled blonde was determined to cover the Battle of Iwo Jima. When a testy general argued that he didn’t want one hundred thousand Marines pulling up their pants because she was around, Chappell countered, “That won’t bother me a bit. My object is to cover the war.” Known for her pluck and tenacity, Gellhorn stowed away on a hospital ship and hid in the head (bathroom) to get to Normandy to cover the invasion. Ex-fashion photographer Lee Miller managed to make her way to Dachau where she captured pictures of the camp’s liberation. Months earlier, Miller broke the rules and arrived in Paris before it was liberated. As a result, she was confined by the Allied command until the Germans retreated.

The grit and gumption of these ladies and others enabled them to provide eyewitness accounts to the harrowing events of WWII. Because, as BBC Correspondent Lyse Doucet says, “They did it, not just because they were exceptional women, but because they were great journalists.”

 

About the Author:

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

Follow Linda on her website, her Facebook Author Page, on Pinterest, and on LinkedIn.

About Under Fire

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

As I noted, Linda has been a busy writer. Here are her other works:

Love’s Harvest, a Modern-Day Retelling of the Story of Ruth: Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her? Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation? Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money? Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Love Found in Sherwood ForestAward-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Returning to England to help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play, could be the diversion Leighanne needs. But with ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, as the play’s director, focusing on her new job won’t be easy. Breaking his engagement with Leighanne so she could pursue her dream of being a Broadway star was the hardest thing Jamison Blake ever did. When she returns to Nottingham, his heart insists he made a mistake. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance, or will he have to let her go again? This time, forever.

On the Rails: A Harvey Girl StoryWarren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

A Love Not Forgotten (part of The Hope of Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?
It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

WWII Word-Find: Enjoy hours of fun with 78 WWII-themed word-find puzzles. Descriptive paragraphs include facts and information about each topic.

To read Inner Source’s interview with Linda’s heroine, Ruth Brown, from Under Fire you can find it here.

Linda’s Inner Source interview can be found here.

Character Interview: Ruth Brown from Linda Shenton Matchett’s Under Fire

This week, I’m happy to introduce you to author Linda Shenton Matchett. Linda has been very busy since I first met her via the book we’re featuring.

Today’s guest is Ruth Brown, the heroine from Linda’s World War II historical, Under Fire. Ruth tell us a little about yourself and your story.

I grew up in Hazelton Falls, a small town in central New Hampshire. My best friend is Varis Gladstone, and she’s been with me through thick and thin. She’ll tell you I’m too curious for my own good, so she has to keep me in line. (laughs) She’s probably right, but I’d say that’s an asset to my career as a journalist. My sister and I were very close, so when she went missing, I knew I was the one who had to find her. Traveling to England in the middle of the war was scary, but I didn’t have a choice. That’s where the clues led me. The destruction and death caused by Axis powers made me angry at God. I didn’t understand how he could allow the war to happen.

You are a strong, determined heroine. To what do you owe your intrepid spirit?

My dad believed in me even when he didn’t understand why I pursued some of the things I did. He made me realize I could do or be anything I wanted to, which is unusual in our day and age. That gave me a lot of confidence. I’m also the oldest, so I felt like I had to take care of my younger sister and brother at school. On top of that I’ve always been a bit stubborn, so when it feels like someone is against me, I dig in my heels and try even harder to succeed.

You are drawn to a career that is not exactly considered a woman’s job in your time. Did you look up to other women from your time that perhaps paved the way for you? If so, I’d love to know a little about them and why you were attracted to that career?

Some would call me nosy. I’d like to think I’m merely inquisitive, but I want to know the story behind an incident. Why did something happen? Who caused it, and how did they do that? When I was in high school I discovered Ida Tarbell and Nellie Bly. They were tenacious at ferreting out injustice and social ills. Nellie went undercover as a mental patient at an insane asylum to shed the light on the poor conditions patients were subjected to. Ida’s reporting led to the breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly. I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to make that kind of an impact, so it was only natural for me to follow them into journalism.

Your travels took you away from America and truly under fire. How did your journey to war torn Great Britain change your ideas about the world?

I didn’t realize how sheltered and protected I was at home in New Hampshire. In England, I experienced bombings and saw terrible destruction of property and human beings. Deprivation was everywhere. Many people didn’t have enough to eat and lived in constant fear of invasion and death. I had no idea evil was so rampant in the world.

In your travels and in the things that occurred to you, there had to be a lesson that you’d love to pass along to your readers. What words of wisdom would you like to give to future generations?

Even when things are at their worst, God is in control. He can bring good from evil and his plans, though sometimes unfathomable, are for mankind’s best. Have faith.

More About Under Fire

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

About the Author:

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

Follow Linda on her website, her Facebook Author Page, on Pinterest, and on LinkedIn.

As I noted, Linda has been a busy writer. Here are her other works:

Love’s Harvest, a Modern-Day Retelling of the Story of Ruth: Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her? Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation? Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money? Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Love Found in Sherwood Forest: Award-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Returning to England to help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play, could be the diversion Leighanne needs. But with ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, as the play’s director, focusing on her new job won’t be easy. Breaking his engagement with Leighanne so she could pursue her dream of being a Broadway star was the hardest thing Jamison Blake ever did. When she returns to Nottingham, his heart insists he made a mistake. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance, or will he have to let her go again? This time, forever.

On the Rails: A Harvey Girl Story: Warren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

A Love Not Forgotten (part of The Hope of Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?
It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

WWII Word-Find: Enjoy hours of fun with 78 WWII-themed word-find puzzles. Descriptive paragraphs include facts and information about each topic.

 

Character Interview: Rebekah from Sylvia Bambola’s Rebekah’s Treasure

RTreasureFrontcoverToday’s guest is Rebekah who comes to us from Sylvia Bambola’s novel, Rebekah’s Treasure.

Welcome, Rebekah. You and your husband, Ethan, had such a magnificent story to tell. Will you share with us a little about your life: where you are from, what your husband does, and the problems your family faced?

I am the daughter of a priest, and my husband, Ethan, is a priest of Hasmonean lineage. The blood of the Maccabees runs through his veins. We lived in Holy Jerusalem, the navel of the world. We were happy there and our lives full until our countrymen rebelled against Rome, bringing down Titus’ legions on our heads. Oh how cruel the Romans are! And what they did to my people! It was because of this that my husband, a Zealot, forced me to flee with my daughter while he and my three sons remained in Jerusalem to fight. It was not my wish, this fleeing. I longed to stay and face the danger with my family. But for my husband’s safety and peace of mind I left him and my sons, and took my daughter, Esther, and traveled to Pella, a heathen city where they consult their gods by studying the entrails of animals. I doubt I would have survived if it had not been for the other believers in The Way that were also there.

My daughter and I faced hunger, hardship, danger, separation, and persecution, but God was good. Oh, how good He was! How faithful He proved Himself to be! And I saw things…yes, miracles even…as true and as real as those seen in the days of the apostles. And through it I learned we are all in God’s hands, and He is able to sustains us.

Of course, 70 A.D. was a time of great tribulation for Jerusalem, but prior to that time, before the infighting and the siege, what would you say you treasured most about living there?

Everyone knows Jerusalem is God’s HolyCity. Prophets and priests have walked her streets. Messiah Jesus walked them, too. It is the one place that is carved in the heart of every Jew, and follower of The Way, too. It is the place where the Shekinah glory of God rested for a time; then afterward where the glory of God came in the form of a man. This is the treasure of Jerusalem. This is what I loved most.

What was it like being a follower of The Way during this turbulent time?

Wonderful. Sad. Terrible. So many things all mixed together like one of Leah’s olive and rosemary bread loaves. Wonderful because of the mighty way God showed Himself to us trembling, fearful believers. Sad because so many of our relatives and friends do not understand why we have chosen to follow The Way; do not understand this grace; do not want to understand it because it frightens them. It has made enemies out of friends. It has split us in two. And terrible because of the cost. We are hated by everyone. But we have learned to endure this hatred. And here is the miracle: we have learned to love in spite of it.

Rebekah, I don’t want to give away your story, but you lost so much. In relation to Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose,” what good do you believe God brought to you through this journey and the changes you have lived through and the losses you sustained?

I have learned this: God can be trusted, with my life, with the lives of my family, and with our futures. We must not fear the circumstances. God is more than able. And in the end, He will use all our trials to make us stronger, make us more like Him.

As someone who has faced persecution, what advice would you give to those who are facing it or may face persecution in the future?

Persecution is a fearful thing. It separates and isolates. It can be endured only if one is rooted in our precious Messiah. Only with Him, with His grace is it possible to endure without cowardice or without becoming hateful or bitter. But it is also a beautiful thing. Like a furnace, it has the power to refine, to make one as gold, a gold that reflects the love of Jesus.

Such great advice, Rebekah. Thank you for speaking with me. I look forward to the Inner Source interview with your author, Sylvia Bambola.

More About Rebekah’s Treasure:

FIRST PLACE WINNER FOR ADULT FICTION IN THE FLORIDA STATE ASSOCIATION NATIONAL LEAGUE OF AMERICAN PEN WOMEN

Forced to flee war-torn Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Rebekah and her husband, Ethan, each take something of value:  Rebekah, the cup of the Last Supper; Ethan, a copper scroll detailing the whereabouts of a vast Temple treasure. Ahead, separation and danger face them as each tries to survive. But it’s not only external forces that could keep them apart forever but internal ones as they struggle to discover where their true treasure lies.

You can find Rebekah’s Treasure at Amazon.com, Barnes & NobleBooks-a-Million, and other book retailers everywhere.

SylviaBambolaHeadshotMore About the Author:

Born in Romania in 1945, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored six novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

You can connect with Sylvia at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.