Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Excerpt and Giveaway (US): A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

Today we welcome to The Calico Critic author Cat Gardiner.  She offers some thoughts, an excerpt of her novel A Moment Forever, and a nice prize package as well.  Enjoy today's post, and don't forget to enter to win below!  Every comment is entered for the giveaway of an E-Book, Vintage-style picture frame and triple-milled gardenia soap swag gift. (US)  For extra entries, follow on Facebook, Twitter or the Cat Gardiner blog.  Be sure to submit your entries through the Rafflecopter widget so that we can compile all entries and select a random winner.  Good luck, and enjoy!

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Thank you, Laura for inviting me with A Moment Forever to The Calico Critic. I’m so happy to be here and to share some thoughts with your readers and a giveaway. So, I’ll get right to it!


Growing up, I knew a few families that had widow/widower parents, and guess what – they remarried! I’m sure you remember the song about one particular family: “Here’s the story of a lovely lady …” Yes, the Brady Bunch. And let’s not forget, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and My Three Sons. Sixties and seventies television shows were rife with this situation, and I, as a child, thought nothing of it. The Bradys hooked up, Eddie tried to hook his father up, and Steve Douglas, father of three sons hooked a bride. Society, as a whole, encouraged remarriage. It was more widely welcomed by family. Perhaps it was because the world viewed marriage as essential to one’s happiness – and also because two back-to-back wars had left us with the too common occurrence of men killed in action, resulting in fatherless children, unskilled women having to enter the workforce, and just plain and simple – loneliness. Maybe that would explain remarriage rates at an all time high in the late 1960s.

The eighties gave us more widowers in TV: Full House, Diff’rent Strokes, and more recently Arrested Development. Did they all remarry? No, most likely society has changed. In American real life, some of today’s dominant objections in keeping seniors from remarrying after the death of a spouse are from family. In this Millennial era, adult children are more protective – and territorial. They worry about someone new in their family, pre-nups and finances, inheritances, being taken advantage of, and the plaguing question of “who will I bury them with?” Personally, I do think I would have a difficult time. My parents have been married 61 years. They’ve been a “couple” for 75. Yet, my mother states time and again to my father, “When I’m gone, find someone to care for you.” It’s very hard for some children to accept that. No one can take the place of my mom or dad and what they mean to each other, but it’s not my call.

This issue is a prevalent theme in 1992 in A Moment Forever and it touches at the heart of the novel. A secondary character, Louis Martel, is responsible for compelling his granddaughter to find her past and the people he and his deceased wife hid from her. His son has just died, two years after his wife, and he’s living in a senior community. Once a “doll dizzy” man during the 1940s, he’s filling his loneliness at night with the help of some lovely ladies. But in 1992, his granddaughter is having a tough time accepting that he isn’t “faithful” to her deceased grandmother, Lillian (Mimi.) She fails to recognize his need to be loved, touched, cared for, soothed, and have steady companionship in his waning years. Things he wants to give someone special in return, too. Romantic love isn’t a one-shot deal and it’s not restricted only to the young – and Juliana must come to learn that. He hasn’t forgotten Lillian. On the contrary, he still grieves and misses her, and he must deal with the guilt he has about seeking companionship, maybe not marriage, but a relationship.

This scene shows us what Louis is up against.

*          *          *

“Grandpa, are you still asleep?”

She could hear the shower running inside his master bath. “Grandpa. It’s only me. I’ll put up some coffee. We need to talk.”

To her surprise, it wasn’t Vera who came through the bedroom door but another woman wearing a beige towel wrapped around her torso. Ginger-haired, buxom, attractive and in her sixties, she greeted Juliana’s shocked expression with a pleasant smile.

“Oh, hello. You must be Lou’s granddaughter, Julie. I’ve heard so much about you. Everyone has told me what a beauty you are. Why, you’re as cute as a button.”

The offending stranger squeezed Juliana’s cheek just as Mimi used to do. Unable, unwilling to welcome the woman with even a cordial acknowledgment or smile, she stammered.

“Um, er … and you are?”

“I’m Louise but everyone calls me Lou. Your grandfather is in the shower at the moment.”

Lou and Lou, oh isn’t that just too cute. Not.

“Can you please let my grandfather know that I’ll be in the kitchen preparing breakfast for me and him?”

“Of course. Make yourself comfortable, dear.”

Fuming, Juliana walked to the galley kitchen.

How could he? What happened to Vera? And who the hell does this stranger think she is telling me to make myself comfortable!

Already the morning was off to a bad start. Her anger was about to explode to the surface, but she shamefully had to admit that this Louise person, unfortunately, found herself in the line of fire. Perhaps if the woman had answered the door wearing actual clothing that might have helped, but the thought of her grandfather in some shag fest with a sixty-year-old was too much to handle. Pinching my cheek! Only Mimi gets to pinch my cheek! Oh, that’s right … Mimi’s dead and this one obviously thinks she can fill her shoes!

The coup de grâce was pulling open the refrigerator door and finding two different Pyrex designs and four different Corning Ware patterns, all dating between the 1960s and 80s, none of which he actually owned. Apparently these were the modern day, senior citizen equivalent to a calling card. Perhaps the pattern names suggested some subliminal message to the recipient from the giver, potentially a physical trait or a promise of dessert to come: Cornflower, Balloons, Floral Bouquet, Country Festival, Autumn Harvest, and the ever-present Spice O Life that seemed to sum up his playboy behavior toward them all! She wondered if Louise had brought Strawberry Sunday.

She harrumphed. “Six casserole dishes, all different designs. My seventy-three year old grandfather is a total Don Juan!”

She poured a mug of coffee, grabbed her blue Tiffany box, and walked to the balcony to wait for her grandfather’s expected shit-eating grin to arrive. Today, she would find it neither cute nor endearing.

*          *          *

Thank you so much for joining me today. I’d love to hear your thoughts about Louis and Juliana or someone you may know or even the beautiful idea of finding love again - at any age.

About Cat Gardiner:

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/40sExperience
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cat.t.gardiner
Follow her blog: http://www.cgardiner1940s.com/#!my-40s-experience/c112v


Cat Gardiner has generously offered a nice prize pack for our U.S. readers!  One randomly chosen winner will win a package that includes an eBook of A Moment Forever, a vintage-style frame and gardenia soaps (my favorite scent!).   Simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. The only required entries are your contact information and making a comment to this post.  Contest will conclude at 12am EST on Saturday, August 27th.  Good luck to all the entrants!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. Amazing concept, a Don Juan grandfather!

    1. Well in her mind he is, but he's just lonely. He suffers from late-onset PTSD following his wife's death. She always helped him through memories of battle in the Pacific, but now that she's gone ... Thanks for the comment!! Good Luck

  2. I have enjoyed your P&P modern day adaptations and didn't know you especially liked the 1940's. I look forward to reading this book. Thank you for the giveaway and keep dancing!

    1. Hi Eva! Thank you so much for the comment. I'm so happy that you've enjoyed my P&P mods. This historical fiction got its beginning in P&P world, but I adapted it for a wider audience. I adore the forties! You are welcome and I wish you good luck in the giveaway.

  3. Love this amazing story! I remember I was taking a CFP class and the instructor was telling us how much action goes on in retirement communities... ����

    1. Oh yes, Dung! I live not far from The Villages here in Florida, and I have recently read an article on the sad but true issue of increase in STD's in our senior population. I don't know if Louis prepared for that in 1992 and I don't think that little blue pill had made an appearance yet on the scene. I loved him as a character because his journey, I felt, was real. The way he traveled back the home he shared with Mary and his conversation with her, almost seeking her approval to invite someone into his life for the duration. Thank you for your comment and kind words about AMF!! Hugs, Cat

  4. Oh boy, what a rascal! Loved the excerpt and look forward to reading the whole story.

    1. You will love Louis. He's my favorite secondary character. :)

  5. I haven't dealt with a parent or an in-law re-entering the dating scene but I know a gentleman who lost his wife several years ago and he has made it his missión to entertain EVERY recent widows who will go out with him. I'm no sure if he is extremely lonely or just trying to relive his bachelor days.
    Interesting scenario for a book!
    cps1950(at)gmail (dot)com

    1. Hi Connie! I bet your friend is responding to all those casserole dishes that accompany a lady's welcoming smile. Maybe it's the food wooing him. :) He might very well enjoy the status quo - he's eating well! Thanks for the comment and good luck in the giveaway.

  6. I enjoyed the excerpt and the background to this wonderful post. The era is my favorite and being Jewish it has a great deal of importance to me. The unforgettable and memorable novel is a real treasure which gives me a great deal of pleasure and allows me to think about that time and the profound influence which it exerts upon our lives. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. Lovely to meet you, petite. :) I'm glad to hear that AMF has piqued your interest. This era is very dear to me, as well, the novel even more so. I was blessed to have two dear friends, both Jewish, act as content editors to help me convey a story and message that I hope will resonate with readers. There are many themes within but two are paramount - atonement and forgiveness. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Good luck in the giveaway.

  7. A friend of mine dated a boy in high school but his parents didn't like her. My friend gave him a friendship bracelet to seal their love. His parents said if you don't break up we will not pay for you to go to medical school. After high school, they parted ways. They both moved on to marry other people. After 50 years or more, she had divorced and his wife had passed away. They met again at a high school reunion - he still had the bracelet she had given him all those years ago. They rekindled their relationship, married and are now living happily ever after together. Looks like true love never dies! A MOMENT FOREVER sounds like my kind of book.

    1. Hello, Terry! What a story!!! Thank you for sharing that. AMF is a book right up your alley. Some say that kind of love doesn't exist. Juliana is one of them - she'll learn otherwise. The dedication of the book reads:
      To the Sisterhood of the Swan
      Women who believe in soul mates, enduring love,
      re-kindled love, and finding love a second time around.

      Thank you for your comment and good luck!

  8. Such a wonderful post. And definitely a wonderful book! Kudos again and again, Cat! Xo

    1. Hi Becky! Thank you so much for commenting and all your enthusiasm for AMF! You are such a dear heart. Good Luck! Hugs, Cat

  9. A Moment Forever sounds like a wonderful love story! Thank you for the except and chance to win.

    1. Hi Caryl! Thank you so much for commenting. It's lovely to meet you! Good Luck in the giveaway. :)

  10. Most of the older people I know are married, or have zero interest in dating, so it's hard for me to imagine.

    1. Hi Dianna. I spend a fair amount of time in senior communities with my husband who does physician house calls. You'd be surprised by the number of folks I meet who are dating. It does my heart good and talks to the muse. :) Thank you for the comment and Good Luck.

  11. Congratulations, Terry. Thank you so much for joining in the conversation! I hope you enjoy A Moment Forever. Hugs, Cat



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