2016 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best New Voice: Fiction
It's 1942 and the globe is aflame. Eleanor Sutton matriarch of a prosperous New Jersey family struggles to fight the war on the home front. But then long-buried memories rooted in Eleanor's service in the Great War come to light. These decades-old secrets threaten her marriage to George-and bring his own carefully guarded secrets to the surface.
As the relative peace of the Sutton household is upended son Edward leaves for the front lines. Younger brother Nat wrestles with shocking revelations while trying to find his way at boarding school. Putting her own future aside to oversee the family Victory farm daughter Harriet faces the secrets that challenge all her assumptions about family and love.
Set against the historical backdrop of World War II Eleanor's Wars chronicles the personal battles of one heroic woman in a rapidly changing world. It explores a timeless universal subject: the insidious power of family secrets to mold and destroy lives and alter individual destinies.
Ames Sheldon is an author and editor of the ground-breaking Women's History Sources: a Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States (1979) which helped launch the field of women's history. This is her first novel. Like many fiction writers she learned about human nature through a variety of real world jobs ranging from work in an auto salvage yard to the Minnesota Historical Society. A native of Minneapolis she lives with her husband in the nearby suburb of Eden Prairie.
"Ames Sheldon has written a novel about family and war and lies and forgiveness. In other words she hits all the bases in reaching home &ndash the place where you live." -Faith Sullivan The Cape Ann Gardenias Good Night Mr. Wodehouse and other award-winning novel
"A gripping read&hellipThrough the eyes of a woman and an adolescent boy in a time and place now fading from living memory readers experience the realities of war both battlefield and home front from a fresh angle." -Sara M. Evans Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America
"Sheldon gets it right. Based on extensive research war times in twentieth century America come into focus&hellip She reminds us that yesterday's fears live only slightly mitigated today-bullying gay and feminist concerns." -Ruth F. Quattlebaum archivist emerita Phillips Academy Andover
"Eleanor's Wars is rich with the feel of America during WWII and the impact of PTSD in a generation that buried its trauma." -Cynthia Kraack The High Cost of Flowers
"A warm and intimate portrait of an American family twisted and shaped by the two world wars. Highly recommended a pleasure to read." -Mary Logue Lake of Tears