Reviews / Comments

Please send us your thoughts, comments or reviews to Leigh at lwcallan@rivermontpress.com.

Laurence W. Marvin, Assistant Professor of History at Berry College and author of The Occitan War: A Military and Political History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1209-1218 who read an early draft of the manuscript and wrote this evaluation:

“From a military standpoint your Dad has much to offer scholars; from his time in training, the fact that he became an officer without any college (unusual, though not impossible obviously), and the feelings of being overwhelmed by his responsibilities are interesting and important.  His observations overseas, even what seem to be casual ones about black/white relationships, the perceptions of promiscuity of foreign women etc., would all be valuable to scholars.  Perhaps the crown jewel here is that he was an eyewitness to the bridge at Remagen falling into the water, and wrote about it right after.”


From Lauren Rasqueta, copy editor for 1106 Design:

“What a fantastic read. I took this project on because it sounded as if it might be interesting, and it far surpassed my expectations. Your dad’s unique position of time spent here in the United States, abroad on the front lines, and as a Lieutenant—with access to other’s letters—made every detail you’ve included create a cohesive show that is unparalleled. Add in the romance, and this leaves readers reveling in the facts while feeling as if they’re reading fiction.”

From Susan Harvey, author of Tea With Sister Anna, Postcards and DVD RoleCall--Dancing in the Crossroads:

"I started your book last night, and I am blown away by the depth and scope of your research into this fascinating story. Brava to you and to your mom for preserving this slice of family/American history. I heard my own dad's voice from his letters from the same time period: 'Gee, Honey, when will this war be over; I miss you,' etc. They were brave men and women. I'm debating what to do with my parents' letters. ...I am so glad you wove your own story into the historical record. I found myself flipping over to find your project reports. I like to learn about "process." I love the cover and the type font!!!! Easy to read."

From Tony Baker, singer-songwriter and co-author of Walk Along the Ocean Road and River Oak Suite:

"I have much to say about Here's My Heart. I admire every decision you made about it. Something conceived in love takes form very naturally, and this work is much, much bigger than it at first appears. ...The story is holy ground, and you treat it with the exact deference it is due. I am deeply impressed with the dignity of your prose and the wisdom of your organization. And as you are an expression of Doyle's life, it is altogether fitting that you integrate your own experience and emotion, as you did seamlessly, into his. This is what completes the arc of the story so perfectly for me. It is a story about them, a story about you. You brought it all into present time and made it relevant."

From T. J. Roby, fellow baby boomer:

"I can tell I really like a book when I get to the final few chapters and I slow down on reading because I don't want the book to end. I felt that way with your book. You are lucky your father was so descriptive in his writing and that you could trace his travels. I'd love to go to some of the places that Daddy fought, but I'm not sure how accessible they are. His service was quite different. He was a private in the Army and he served in the South Pacific on some of the roughest Islands. ...He doesn't talk much about it, but some of the things he says, your father also said. I think both of our fathers were amazing men...."

From L. McIntire, fellow descendant of a Battery D, 639th AAA hero:

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book.  I wish I could list all the pages where I found myself saying, “Wow, I remember Dad telling me about this,” but that would be nearly every page. My father, Harold McIntyre, now 92 years old, served in the 639th-Battery D. ...I asked him, “So, did you know this Lt. Whittenburg?  Did you travel with him?"  [Though not in his platoon,] he remembers your dad fondly.  He commented that he thought all those stories had been lost. He flipped through the pages and LOVED seeing the photos.  Every few minutes he would randomly turn to a page and say, “Look…remember I told you about…”  It was so meaningful for both of us to be able to see everything he’s talked about over the years in print.  

I visited Buchenwald on May 3, 2013, three years to the day after your visit. I must say your description of the place was eerily perfect.  I’m left with the impression, the sun never shines there. 

I am so impressed with how you crafted the book.  To read your father’s letters, learn about your walk in his footsteps, and see the two stories unfold as one coherent, accessible piece of history is wonderful.  What a monumental undertaking! 

From C. Lee, niece of Juby and Doyle:

What a wonderful book! I could not put it down. Thank you for sharing the beautiful love story between you and Uncle Doyle. As I read some of the letters to my own daughter, she quickly said that was the kind of committed and faithful love she hoped to have. I have the fondest memories of Doyle, he was truly one of a kind I will treasure this book forever.

From C. Hart, nephew of Juby and Doyle:

Unfortunately, I just finished your book.  I say unfortunately, because it has been a part of my life for the better part of 3 days. ...Not only because the book is about family did I love it, but I frankly love a great story. The best part is that there are many stories - Doyle's, Juby's, both their families (including both my Mom and Dad), your story and actual history of WWII and the heroes who had a role in that war. I don't normally get all those rolled into one - whether it's fiction or non-fiction.

Your comments and explanations (along with Juby's) throughout the book enhanced the reader experience. I thought I knew Doyle as just the suave, tall and handsome uncle who lived close by, but now I really miss "knowing" him more - the book filled a gap I didn't realize existed. This book includes a love story, a history lesson and a travel adventure all rolled into one. Job well done! Your Dad would be proud, but not surprised with the end product.  I wish you many additional re-prints.

From Gayle Wurst, editor

Here's My Heart arrived this afternoon. It's simply beautiful. Looks, feels, reads, and sounds wonderful. Truly a fine accomplishment. I've looked through it all, read here and there, and read again with pleasure all of your  "author's note" on how the book came to be. You're an even better writer in print than in manuscript!

From a text to Doyle’s granddaughter from her friend:

Was reading your mom’s book on the flights to conference and back. Started to tear up and got goose bumps all over when I read the part about your mom and uncle revisiting the castle and the chapel where they knelt down and prayed in the exact spot where your grandfather did. I felt I was there with them.