Dream When You’re Feeling Blue

Written by Elizabeth Berg
Review by Andrea Connell

This warm, heartfelt home front novel tracks one American family in Chicago during the Second World War. As the story opens in 1943, Kitty and Louise Heaney (two children out of six in this loving, traditional Irish family) tearfully send their sweethearts, Julian and Michael, off to war. Kitty, Louise, and their younger sister, Tish, soon fall into the nightly rituals of letter writing to keep the boys’ spirits up and patriotically attending USO dances. Life soon takes a more tumultuous and ominous turn as the war progresses and the Heaney children are forced to mature quickly as they begin to face the realities of war.

This novel does an excellent job of weaving war themes into an entertaining story of one family’s life during this era. The plot touches on the horrors of combat, patriotism, the changing attitudes toward working women and single mothers, wartime romance, and family sacrifice; at the same time, it’s an enjoyable and comfortable read. My single complaint is that ending was very abrupt, jumping from the end of the war to 2006. Other than that, I recommend this book as an enjoyable, nostalgic backward leap in time to “the greatest generation.”