“People seemed to think that someone may look at this one day, so they made it look nice,” she said.
Nelson, in particular, left a trove of documents. A prodigious writer, he sent missives to Norwich’s Reveille magazine, with titles like “Helping the Hun Home.” These apparently came straight from the trenches.
“The men manned the guns with a coolness that was wonderful while around them enemy machine gun bullets sang their stinging whiplash song and shells burst with crashes that were terrific,” he wrote.
Leona Harmon serves as a particularly interesting contrast to a character in the novel—the liberated, passionate Catherine—according to Donley. In Leona’s personal memoir, she often paints herself as an insecure woman living very much in the shadow of her husband.
“I was so innocent, ignorant, unsophisticated, ill-prepared and shy that life was difficult. Ernest was an ARMY OFFICER with all the conceit, bad habits and arrogance of which I knew nothing,” Leona wrote. “He was probably ashamed of me in everything I did and didn’t know but never tried to help in any way.”continue