Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Jenna Victoria's story and personal essay

Welcome Jenna Victoria to the blog today! She's here to share a personal essay inspired by her Christmas novella, War of the Heart. It's a story that's part of the Snow Globe Christmas Collection published by Forget Me Not Romances.

Back cover blurb for War of the Heart: When a vintage snow globe sends Boston dress designer Louise Martin and British B&B owner George Walker back in time to London, December 1940, they race against the clock to reconcile a feud between their families and solve a 75-year-old mystery. As Louise relies on God and on George for guidance, friendship then love, will the future George envisions strangle her own dreams? Will their love survive generations of mistrust, the Blitz and being stranded in wartime 1940, possibly never to return to their former lives? 

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Jenna Victoria's personal essay:

Thank you, Alexis, for allowing me to "pull up a sleigh" at your blog series, “A Prelude to Christmas”! I've been known to break into Christmas songs any time of the year, maybe it's because my birthday is three days after? There's something eternally hopeful and encouraging about the season.

War of the Heart is both a stand-alone book and part of a six-novella Snow Globe Collection on Kindle. I was quite enthusiastic about writing Louise and George's story, as I was able to feature two of my favorite things: London and snow globes. I specifically chose December, 1940, the first Christmas of WWII in the United Kingdom, as I wanted the setting to help reflect the message of their time-travel journey which is one of hope, perseverance and reliance on God despite circumstances.

I was struck by many things while researching that week in 1940. Londoners (and those in other larger cities in the U.K.) simply carried on. They ate far less due to mandatory rationing, created homemade or re-mended store bought clothing, did without necessities and reused everyday items such as newspaper and scrap so the men fighting on the front could have what they needed. Still, they still had peace and joy, something I focused on in the book.

There were no eight-foot Christmas trees for sale, but three-feet ones easily able to fit into air raid shelters quickly sold out. Christmas lights were banned so enemy aircraft could not see their reflection. Yet the tube (subway stations) repurposed as shelters held festive holiday parties, sing-alongs and appearances by Father Christmas.

This sacrifice was especially poignant that first Christmas, when most fathers and brothers were away at war and it was the Mums and grandparents that relied on their faith and their ingenuity to provide a happy Christmas even as bombs rained on the city. In direct opposite to their situation, they stayed the course, confident in the sovereign government to get them out of the war quickly.

Our faith as Christians is similar to that of Louise and George. At first, we assume our trial or difficulty will pass quickly. We pray for that. We believe in that. And for many, a positive resolution, a miracle, is what occurs. But what about those like the country of Great Britain which was not war-free until May of 1945, who don't receive the answer they have prayed for?

My personal struggle is recurrent breast cancer. We approached my initial treatment plan in 2012 with naive optimism, trusting God that mine would be similar to the normal path followed by 82 percent of women with BC (chemo, surgery and radiation) and then finally, I would be cancer free!

Rather, six weeks after my first tumor was removed, I was newly diagnosed as a triple-negative breast cancer patient as cancer returned in several locations. TNBC is the most aggressive and drug-resistant form of breast cancer which affects less than 20 percent of those diagnosed. Man like myself become metastatic, which is incurable. Four years later, I continue to receive IV chemotherapy every 21 days.

Like Louise and George, I find myself in a place I don't want to be. I want to return to my life before cancer, the same as they wanted to return to modern day London instead of being stuck in wartime England as snow is falling.

As their (and my) journey unfolds, something vitally important occurs. When you place your trust and hope in God, He never fails you. The answer may not be what you longed for or prayed for, but He never, ever leaves you with less. I knew this in my head, at that scary visit after my first biopsy. But, I did not feel it in my heart until much later. I was faithful in trusting God even when I did not have the emotional connection to that trust. I carried on, trusting Him despite my feelings. Now, I have a peace, a contentment, and a joy within my circumstances!

I won't reveal here how (or if) our two lovebirds in War of the Heart return to current day London. But they, like me, embrace the words of the Apostle Paul:

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." ~2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

Author bio: 
Jenna Victoria lives on the eastern seaboard of the USA. She enjoys Hallmark movies and Christmas carols year-round. She writes Happily-Ever-After romance and romantic suspense stories with a Christian world view. 

Her book emulates those she enjoys reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger and a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she solves the case (with a little help)…and those that feature the sweetest of small-town, fairytale-ending love stories.
Connect with Jenna Victoria:
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