The Four Bells
By Brodie Curtis
A Christmas Toast to the past…
Damaged World War I veteran Al Weldy revisits his hometown on Christmas Eve 1931, intending to raise a toast to his dead comrade-in-arms, Eddie Beane. Behind the bar of The Four Bells he finds Eddie’s sister Maddy, his one-time flame.
Maddy, now a widow, confides how the Great War damaged her husband and draws from a reluctant Al the details of his army service with her brother Eddie. Al’s stories reveal how he and Eddie went to war with youthful enthusiasm but came of age in the tumult and tragedy of battle. He reflects on the Christmas Truce that he and Eddie experienced in 1914, when British and German soldiers laid down their weapons for an uplifting encounter on a battlefield gone quiet.
Maddy is delighted when she learns that Eddie found romance in Flanders with Therese, a beautiful Belgian refugee. But, in the end, she must endure the news of Eddie’s brave, rebellious death in the trenches.
And the future?...
As Al and Maddy reopen the old wounds the war caused, they find that their youthful romance has transformed into a more mature emotional connection forged by the consequences of war, and possibly a new life together.
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THE FOUR BELLS is Brodie Curtis’s debut novel. It was set in motion years ago, in a homey lounge, when he heard a mournful, but gorgeous, acoustic version of John McCutcheon’s song about the transcendent Christmas truce of 1914 and was inspired to research reports on the truce in contemporaneous writings and non-fiction, and to walk the fields of Flanders. He decided to write about the truce, and when pen hit paper, his characters took him down their own road, and the truce became just one scene in the story.
Curtis was featured as a debut author in Myfanwy Cook’s “New Voices” article published in the Historical Novels Review, issue 91, in February 2020.
Curtis’s sequel to THE FOUR BELLS, ANGELS & BANDITS, which is set during the Battle of Britain, is expected to be released in early 2021.
Curtis is also a reviewer of historical fiction, and has posted dozens of quick takes on world war-based fiction on his website: https://brodiecurtis.com/curtis-takes/ Also posted are Curtis’s book reviews that have been published in the Historical Novels Review as well as reviews of several other historicals.
Raised in the Midwest, Curtis is a lawyer, and ended the first part of his career in the California corporate tower of a large company. He left the corporate world to embrace life in Colorado with wife Sue and their two young sons. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “there are no second acts in American lives,” but Curtis and Sue turned their talents and drive to building a real estate business in Denver. With plenty of hard work, the second act achieved top billing, and Curtis began to write. It is said to take 10 years to become proficient at a trade, and with the time he has put into writing, Curtis feels he is closing in—just maybe a third act!
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