Johnnie McLeod sees more anger hate and evil during the formative years of his life than kindness and love. Growing up in an adult world, many of the things he sees make no sense. Thus begins wee Johnnie's journey to search beyond war, hate and poverty to discover human kindness and a compassion that lies somewhere within us all.
A Different Light is a first-person novel written from the pages of the author’s diary during her year’s tour of duty in Da Nang, Vietnam from October 1967 to October 1968. Hired by the Red Cross, she worked on the III Marine Amphibious Force, headquarters for the First and Third Marine Divisions. There she delivered hundreds of death-and-disaster messages as well as being available 24/7 for emotional support during a war no one understood. Long hours at work and exposure to the War’s ugliness at its height proved to be costly on her stamina and compassion. She saw death, decay, beauty and newness, first love and hate, and marveled at the extremes all lived under. She witnessed survival tactics used by civilians, the military and even herself in a thankless, unappreciated, poorly run and ultimately, forsaken war. Everyone was confused by the War’s politics, lack of emotional support from home, the inability to get ahead and the ultimate sacrifices so many gave for what was thought as “Freedom for the Oppressed.” It was time to grow up. Jenny was born in Southern California in 1944. Life was normal for her and her two brothers but when her mother died when Jenny was three years old, life became bleak at the hands of the “wicked stepmother of the West.” Graduation from Hi School in 1962, college in 1966 with a Sociology degree, Jenny volunteered to work as a counselor and bookkeeper for the Red Cross. She spent six months in Southern California, a year in Vietnam, nine months in San Francisco, two years in Germany and finally back to work on a Naval Base in the Pacific Northwest. Here she found love for the beautiful ever-green countryside, the marine atmosphere of Puget Sound and a Navy man. Now married for thirty-eight years, she has three handsome sons, three beautiful daughters-in-law and three adorable grandchildren. Jenny loves her family, horses, fishing, boating, the mountains, and the saltwater. She remains active in her community by selling real estate as well as reading, working in her garden, and making new friends.
Few people gave a second thought to Abercerig. The seemingly unremarkable village in the Welsh mining valley looked dreary; endless grey terraced cottages housing dull people with little or no desire to better themselves. But nothing could be further from the truth. A story of true love and family intrigue weaves itself around the lives of two sisters, Grace and Mari, and their families. A scandalous marriage, the suffering and deprivation of the war years, personal triumphs and communal grief contribute to the colourful tapestry that is Abercerig. The dedicated family doctor and the fair-minded police sergeant steer their flock through the ordeals of everyday life while the chapel ladies in their ‘Sunday Best” hats with their closely guarded recipes for apple pies, rule over the moral welfare of the villagers. Newcomers are scrutinised before finally being accepted into the watchful community and eyebrows are raised as class barriers are breached. But essentially, this is a story of Sian, a young girl who, from a very early age, sees far beyond the inflexible prejudices of the adults surrounding her and offers a solution that will put an end to many wasted years of misunderstanding.
Behind the conventional background of the Welsh border village of Abercerig lies a colourful tapestry of intrigue and discovery. Misfortune comes in many guises, and the inhabitants of the close community struggle to come to terms with freak accidents, suspicious death and the absolute drama of human relationships. And through it all, the Webb family is the thread that holds the neighbourhood together: dependable Tom, well-respected Grace, and their daughters, Beth and Sian—the one clever and well behaved, the other fiery and high-spirited with an understanding of human nature that goes well beyond her years. But these people are strong, and life must go on. Together, they pick up the pieces, reorganize their lives, and celebrate all that is good. And an unexpected decision will change the lives of one family forever.