Love in the Years of Lunacy
Love in the Years of Lunacy is a wonderfully written World War II story of siblings who share their love of horn playing, jazz clubs, and danger. The war in the Pacific heats up in Sydney, Australia, in 1942 when the American soldiers arrive and jazz and passions run hot. Martin introduces his twin sister, Pearl, to both his fascination for the music played late at night in the Negro nightclub and his aboriginal girlfriend. The lunacy begins when, during an air raid, Pearl falls for a very gifted black horn player, a soldier in the segregated American army. Pearl and Martin have always been close, and as the Japanese attack Sydney, they find their lives changed forever. He is pressed into the armed forces, and she is separated from the man she loves, sending her into depression under the care of the “Lunacy Doctor.” The doctor offers her hope of a normal life as his wife, but the passion she experienced with James still lingers in her mind. Can she settle for the proper life, or will lunacy of love send her off to the jungles of New Guinea to find the man she wants?
We follow Pearl’s story with the author keeping up the rhythm as the story draws to its surprising conclusion. Having heard of the war in this region from my father-in-law, who, like Martin, served in the 41st division, I was drawn to reviewing this book. I highly recommend this peek into World War II in the Pacific, with the jungle fighting, troop entertainers, and racism that crosses so many cultures.