A collection of stories depicting life in a small Virginia town in the 1940s — the happiness, heartbreak and humor that saw America through the turbulent years of World War II and its challenging aftermath. In Johns’ fictional Marshallville a small but proud college anchors the community alongside family businesses handed down from one generation to the next. The lives of surrounding farm families and of workers at the nearby mill complete the intricately-woven fabric of this slice of life in a simpler but important time. And always, the train rolling through on Main Street was king.

America had yet to deal with the looming issues of women’s rights, racial justice and societal change, but the Marshallvilles of the 1940s — and the close-knit communities that defined the life of that time — provided a sturdy foundation for what lay ahead. Here, with the truth that fiction offers, is a glimpse into a pivotal era with all its faults and foibles, seen through the lens of fond remembrance.

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