1947

And what, you may be asking, is significant about 1947? Well, Los Angeles trial lawyer and novelist Scott Lord is about to tell us. Scott’s latest novel, Come November, weaves together the international intrigue of a political thriller, the reflection of historical fiction, and the passion of a second-chance romance.

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Much of my new novel, Come November, is set in 1947, a year that had enormous significance for the entire world and some importance in my life.

Certain years, when seen in the rearview mirror, seem to pack more punch than others. 1947 was such a year. The deep bloody gash made by World War II in the body of history and the fabric of the world had barely begun to heal. The Marshall Plan and the Truman doctrine were promulgated to contain the onrush of Soviet-style communism. The Cold War was on and, not coincidentally, the Doomsday Clock began to tick. 350 million people in India and Pakistan gained their independence from the smoking ruins of the British Empire.

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten were married. The Hollywood Ten were cited for contempt of Congress. The dismembered body of Elizabeth Short, the “Black Dahlia,” was discovered and Bugsy Siegel was murdered in the noir paradise of Los Angeles. Thor Heyerdahl sailed a balsa wood raft 4,300 miles across the Pacific, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, and Jackie Robinson won Rookie of the Year. And, while hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims desperately tried to make their way to the Middle East, the United Nations voted to approve Resolution 181, which partitioned Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews on November 29. The impact of that vote and the events of 1947 world-wide continue to reverberate in our lives today.

In the madhouse mecca of 1947 New York City – where a significant chunk of Come November takes place – A Streetcar Named Desire, All My Sons, Finian’s Rainbow, and Brigadoon debuted on Broadway. Miracle on 34th Street, Gentleman’s Agreement, and Shoeshine played in movie theaters, and Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl was published. Frank Sinatra sold out theaters to crowds of screaming teenagers. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis were introducing the world to their frenetic brand of bebop in the jazz clubs on W. 52nd Street. People flowed to the city by the thousands. New York was, according to E.B. White, a destination for “strangers. . . seeking sanctuary or fulfillment or some greater or lesser grail.” 

1947 was significant for my future, too. My mother, Gloria, was a senior at Steinmetz High School in Chicago that year and editor-in-chief of its newspaper. Along with 75 other high school journalists, she was invited by a local daily, the Chicago Sun, to take a weeklong trip to visit New York and see the United Nations. She went in November and witnessed some of the debates that preceded the United Nations vote. The notes, photographs, and souvenirs she put together provided a personal connection to that seminal event and formed the inspiration for my novel. Not long after she returned from New York, she met my father, Henry, a Navy veteran recently discharged from the Pacific theater. They married a couple years later.

The historical focus of Come November on the United Nations’ vote was a matter of chance. Had my mother gone to New York in another month or year, no doubt my book would have been about something else. But I have always found in any writing project of mine worth its salt – poem, short story, novel, or the occasional opera libretto – there are elements of serendipity and synchronicity. I was working on a novel about an older woman who takes a European trip with her discontented forty-year-old son when one of my brothers handed me my mother’s scrapbook. Suddenly, I pictured that older woman as she might have been in high school in 1947. I researched the year, the city, Italy, and the UN vote and connections began to appear that enabled me to tie the stories together.  Jeanne, the heroine of my novel, took on a past, a look, a voice, and an attitude toward life. 

The history of Palestine in the 19th and 20th century and the 1947 United Nations vote for its partition are subjects that have been extensively documented by historians, memoirs of the main actors, and contemporary news accounts. The suggestions for further reading on my website, www.scottlord.com, are a representative sampling of some of the sources I relied upon to write Come November. I encourage those interested to dig far deeper and wider. The lead-up to the vote on UN Resolution 181 and the vote itself depicted in the novel are accurate insofar as dates, times, and public comments of the individuals involved. Where I invented dialogue of historic figures, I did my best to make it true to their modes of speech based the public record and their writings. For my depiction of Moshe Sharett, a leader of the delegation and Israel’s first foreign secretary, I had the invaluable assistance of his 93-year-old daughter, Yael Medini. She helped me avoid some egregious errors, such as depicting him smoking a pipe (he didn’t smoke), swearing, (she was emphatic that although Mr. Sharett spoke eight languages, he never swore in any of them), and dressing informally while in public. Resolution 181 called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with Jerusalem to be governed by an international administration. It was considered by the Jewish community to be a legal basis for the establishment of Israel. Its fate was uncertain until almost the last minute and it passed with only a couple of votes to spare for the needed two-thirds majority – 33 to 13. It was immediately rejected by the Arab community and war broke out, a war it seems that continues to this day.

Many thanks, Scott. 1947 was clearly a fascinating and pivotal time. Come November is definitely going on my TBR list. Scott‘s previous novel, The Logic Bomb, a legal thriller, was published in 2015. Learn more at www.scottlord.com.

Come November by Scott Lord ~~ A historical thriller with a love story at its heart

November 1947: Jeanne and John, two newspaper journalists, fall in young love as they travel from Chicago to New York to witness the momentous vote of the United Nations to partition Palestine and create the State of Israel. When they discover an assassination plot meant to swing the outcome, they must put their personal lives on hold and race the clock to stop it, uncovering elaborate details of international politics along the way.

Fifty years later, having gone their separate ways, the two reconnect in Italy. Set against a stunning pastoral backdrop, Jeanne and John relive those turbulent days together and explore whether their love has stood the test of time.

International thriller meets operatic Italian romance in this intricate tale of love, politics, and misunderstandings. Come November is a celebration of history, family bonds, redemption, and second-chance love sure to please fans of thrillers and romance alike.

Purchase Links:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY 

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel is THE ADMIRAL’S WIFE, a dual timeline set in Hong Kong. Mary’s other novels, PARIS IN RUINS, TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

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