Love in the Victory Garden

How does the Love come about in this Victory Garden?

Abbotsville struggled with too little to eat, and not enough to do to stop thinking about too little to eat. The winning solution was to do for others, and the girls certainly made the effort. But why did that redhead always have to torment Joan? Afterall, she’d lost the battle for Dick Thimble’s attentions—hadn’t she? And why didn’t Harry write to Helen, for that matter why didn’t Annie hear from Sylvester? What was going on with those soldiers who were stationed in Florida—or were they? If Bernice had been accepted into the convent as a postulant right away, she would never have had to try to understand those feelings she’d had watching a mother with her baby, or that letter from Henry. Worst of all, where in the world was Monsignor Kuchesky? In 1944, many worries and anxieties were soothed in the peace and loving comfort of the church, and in doing for others. This story picks up characters from The Call to Serve and advances their lives through that frightening summer of 1944 and beyond. Available on and here:

Front Cover ONLY Love in the Victory Garden 10-12-18_Page_1

And a little about the Author:

Cece Whittaker lives and writes in Southern New Jersey. Her recent novels, The Call to Serve (Christmas story), and Love in the Victory Garden, are romance, humor, and love-filled stories set in 1943-44. She draws on her happy childhood and multi-generational memories to create her romance novels, presented honestly and through a Christian heart.


Curing the Great Holiday Compression

20180627_142039Too Much Activity Got You All Wound Up?

It’s been established over the years that while the holiday season is a wonderful time to be with family and celebrate the blessings and gifts we’ve shared over the years, it’s also a well-known stress builder. It’s not just the internal expectation that hits folks, but more the lack of planning, being caught unaware, potential cash shortfall, and even the visits ones doesn’t want to make but feel obligated to do. Writing lists and putting together a schedule works for some folks, but for many, it’s just another source of anxiety, particularly when the accomplishments required don’t occur by the scheduled days.
A lack of pacing, not to mention the often-corresponding lack of funds, is usually at the bottom of holiday distress. That is not to say it comprises the whole ball of wax, but let’s say, it gets the ball rolling. It’s the root of the anxiety and continues to intensify things as other bits and pieces get picked up. How can this whole mess be avoided? How does one enjoy the holiday season and really have that Merry Christmas?

close up of heart shape on table
Photo by Brigitte Tohm on

Easy Answer, Cheap Solution

While there are no doubt many who espouse the alcohol solution, or the exit-the-rat-race philosophy, the answer is actually healthier, cheaper, and ultimately happier. When pacing is involved, a body must be rested. If not physically rested, at least emotionally rested. This happens with temporary escape. Winding down, as mothers call it. Definitely the Calgon bath. But if you’re not a bath person, why not indulge in the common escape of the story?

Watch an old movie where Christmas is utter bliss, while slowing down your mile-a-minute self-demands. Have a hot chocolate or a cup of coffee. Or for an even more engaging revitalization, find a book online among the awesome array of books at places like Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or of course, Amazon. Sit and read, or even listen to a funny, happy, exciting, romantic, or whatever kind of story you enjoy—often for only $3 or less! Once you’re there, you’re happier, you release some tension, and you can better focus on what you still have to do without all the noise and nagging of anxiety.

Reading for Family

child christmas baby cute
Photo by Norbert Mereg on

If you’ve got little ones, there’s nothing finer for their sweet memories than listening to a parent or older sibling read a Christmas book, filled with special love and holiday promise. Traditional favorites like The Night Before Christmas never grow old, but beautifully illustrated new books are also available online, often for only a few dollars.

Whichever way you choose remember that managing emotional health can carry you into and throughout a holiday season with a better outlook, healthier emotional balance, and a Merrier Christmas!

About the Author

Cece Whittaker lives and writes in Southern New Jersey. Her recent novels, The Call to Serve (a Christmas-themed story), and Love in the Victory Garden, are humor and romance-filled stories set in 1943-44. She draws on her happy childhood and multi-generational memories to create her romance novels, presented honestly and through a Christian heart. Kitchen promo

Author · Christian Author · Christmas · Historical Romance

The Great Surprise of New Romance Fiction

It wasn’t until I was writing romance that I realized what an amazing and thorough escape this genre could be. For many people, it’s almost a daily medication. I’ll be honest, I always thought of the romance novel as having the typical plot: boy meets girl, boy wants girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. But what a surprise I had coming—and I thought I was the first!

While I cannot help adding large tablespoons full of humor to my mix, other authors like Esther Erman (Just One) include unique and touching, historical dimensions. Others, like Alethea Williams (Joy That Long Endures) use international roots and historical perspective as well to add color and intrigue. Then there’s Penelope Marzec’s hilarious Daddy Wanted, which adds an element of adventure and what I call “goodness” to the protagonist’s character.

man kneeling in front of woman
Photo by ramtin ak on

For me, and maybe it’s because I’m lazy after a day of writing, I prefer to listen to my stories as opposed to reading them. When I looked into stories that were read aloud, I was surprised to see how many other writers had chosen to read their own books! What fun! I did it because I’ve always been a performer. (Next time out, I hope to make a better show of it, as at times during my reading, it sounds like I’m on Quaaludes.)(Which I’m not!)

But the market is filled with refreshingly new designs in the romance field, and because of our awesome shopping opportunities, you can now scan the titles for your interests within the field that you might enjoy, including Christmas Romance, Historical Romance, Religious Romance, Comedy Romance, and a whole barrel of other specialty styles.
I hope you find something good—books are the best!

The Author:

Cece Whittaker lives and writes in Southern New Jersey. Her recent novels, The Call to Serve (Christmas story), and Love in the Victory Garden, are humor and romance-filled stories set in 1943-44. She draws on her happy childhood and multi-generational memories to create her romance novels, presented honestly and through a Christian heart.

Christmas · Historical Romance

What did Santa Bring . . . in 1943?

Keeping it Real

As I work on my novels, I try to get my hands-on information that’s pertinent, fun, but above all, accurate. The Internet is great, generally. Google and and other resources have directed me to some wonderful, boots-on-the-ground type sites when it comes to locations, dates, battle names, etc. But finding information about Stateside war times is not so easy.

In this little article, I wanted to share what my characters might have expected to find under the tree on Christmas 1943. Common sense led me to the conclusion that children would not see metal cars or trains, and certainly no classic Erector Sets or new bicycles. Not that it would fit under the average tree, but neither Mother nor Dad would be expecting, or receiving in any case, any type of automobile, unless it was Grandfather’s Model A, dusted off from the garage. Even then, it might be looked upon eagerly by locals as an excellent donation toward the municipal metal collection.


What I Found Out

But what did they find under their tree? At length it came to me that one of my beloved Facebook Groups, America In the 1940s, might be able to help out. Aside from many genuine witnesses in that group, there were also researchers and relatives who were willing to share the precise first-hand knowledge I was seeking. I decided to make it easier to respond by setting up a poll in which I suggested: baked goods, toys, crafted or purchased, housewares like blankets or rugs, clothing, coins or cash, or other. If a responder checked “other,” I asked if they would mind making notes in a response, which some kindly did. I had guessed that baked goods would be the most likely gift, and that was actually the case!

Baked Goods 64%
Other-see below 14%
Toy-crafted or purchased 10%
Housewares, blankets   6%
Clothing   6%
Coins/ Cash   0%

What did I miss?

One fellow was particularly helpful, and included recollection of: cartons of cigarettes, which were often decorated for the holiday, including a “Flat Fifty,” a tin of 50 cigarettes. Another was whiskey, also decorated for Christmas and gifted in “fifth”s. A woman remember socks, and hair ribbons, in all different and pretty colors. Another described edible gifts that were elegant and pretty as well as tasty. They may have been the precursors to the classic Hershey Kisses Christmas Tree and the stars carved out of cheese.

Capturing some of the World War II period in my stories has been a wonderful experience because the research in general has been so plentiful. Discovering what Santa might bring was even more fun because it allowed me to connect with some folks who were there—what better resource could one have!

The Author

Cece Whittaker is author of The Call to Serve (book 1 in the Serve Series), a heartwarming, romantic, and historically accurate novel of fictitious Joan, Annie, Bernice, and Helen in New Jersey, and their men overseas during World War II. Book 2, Love in the Victory Garden will be released in October. She can be reached via


Historical Romance

Sacrifice & Share: Home Attitudes during World War II

by Cece Whittaker

Not surprisingly, the World War II era is a favored setting for historical romance novels. One of the many reasons for this is the common phenomenon of personal sharing. At home in America, it was a special time in recorded history during which general goodwill and sacrifice was the way of life. Scaring up an extra plateful for someone’s visiting cousin or fellow worker was not embarrassing or something to put up with. It was an opportunity to serve, and as such, a powerful weapon against depression and confusion.

baby children cute dress
Photo by Pixabay on

“Share and Play Square”

Most of the drive behind taking the high road was dedicated to support, whether toward the men at the front, the men and women at home on base, or in factories, or even the children coming up in what would otherwise be an unacceptably tumultuous world. The country was ripe with helpful and inspirational slogans.  Terrence Witkowski in his work, “The American Consumer Home Front During World War II,” agrees. He feels that this element of World War II’s history telling has been largely “Produce and Conserve, Share and Play Square.” (Witkowski, 1998)

“Meatless Monday”

Something about the feeling of we’re-all-in-this-together provides comfort and closes out thoughts of who will get that paralyzing telegram next, and what will the papers say tomorrow? Limited meat resources created almost a celebration in offering up a meatless night of the week, usually Monday. For Catholics, this was a double, as Fridays without meat were already the rule. “Rationing meant sacrifices for all,” the author of World War II Rationing says. He further describes “Sugar Buying Cards,” which allotted specific measures of sugar which families were eligible to buy, based on the number of family members.   (World War II Rationing, n.d.) See more about the Meatless Monday at

Some historical romance novels celebrate the humanity and laughter, but also include sacrifice and the heartache of separation during this very emotional, yet kindness and sharing time. My series contributes in that direction.


Witkowski, T. H. (1998). The American Consumer Home Front During World War Ii. ACR North American Advances. Retrieved 7 27, 2018, from

World War II Rationing. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 27, 2018, from



Author · Christian Author · Historical Romance

Return to Simple?

What are women readers seeking today?

Having worked through the myriad of spy and terrorist stories, all packaged in shiny, flashy covers featuring nearly exposed women and bare-chested males glittering in sweat, women and old and young may now be turning to a more wholesome entertainment in ladies’ fiction.

Capturing times gone by, without altering the actual circumstances, many newer writers are focusing on the positive side. The post-Babyboomer writer, sometimes referred to as the Babyboomer II, seems to want to concentrate on spreading hope and humor. These 53-60-year-olds graduated high school during very difficult times, having been confronted with the introductions of the first gasoline “crunch,” Jimmy Carter tax expansion, and Richard Nixon China trade. Work was not as freely available to this group as it was to their boomer predecessors.

Taking the high road

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1982, conditions of unemployment ranked highest since 1947, at 9.7% that year, followed by only a slight drop in 1983, at 9.6%. Without the rapid rise on the traditional job track, post-Boomers in large part turned to hope. Writing wholesome ladies’ fiction is one growing outlet. “I’ve been accused of being an optimist and a fantasizer,” says author of The Call to Serve, Cece Whittaker, “and if that’s true, I guess it’s a good thing. As a writer, that’s what keeps me going.”

It may be fantasy, but decorum and wholesome entertainment are not new, just not recent. According to, Don Quixote, In Search of Lost Time, and War and Peace all rank in the top 5 of the most popularly acclaimed books of all time, not to mention the wild frenzy for Pride & Prejudice.

What’s Ahead?

Not to say you can’t still find that blockbuster with dirty teeth, but the late 20-teens are seeing a rebirth of decorum and genuine inspiration. Not surprisingly, the movement is led by a refreshing return of wholesome entertaining ladies’ fiction.