Here in the UK, it’s Remembrance Day, and I gather it’s Veteran’s Day over the pond. So there was never any question which story I’d snippet from today: it’s Wild Flowers, my story in the Call to Arms charity anthology.
On Remembrance Day, we often–and rightly– focus on the men who gave their lives for their countries, but for my story, I chose to focus on an often-forgotten group who also suffered and died, the women of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II:
Ruth won’t remember the times before the devil took our country and our people’s hearts, not as I do. So many clubs, like the Dorian Gray and the Topp-Keller, where you could buy a drink and watch handsome women singing in drag, and where pretty boys picked up foreigners for love and money. Berlin was beautiful then, gleaming white and red and gold.
Now, the pretty boys are all dead and the clubs long since closed down or destroyed. I had a lover then, Anna, with cornflower eyes and wide, red lips that laughed and swore and kissed me with equal abandon. When she was killed in the bombings of 43, I thought my heart died with her.
Don’t forget to check out the rainbow snippets Facebook group for more little excerpts from a whole host of talented authors.
Modern LGBTQ+ fiction
of the Second World War
Seventeen stories, thirteen authors, a second war. Once again Manifold Press’s writers explore the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their war-time experience in cities, towns and countryside across the world.
Amidst war and peace, in the thick of violence or in an unexpected lull, these stories of the Second World War take the reader far and wide: through Britain, Europe, Asia and South America, from loss and parting to love and homecoming. As for home, it may be an ordinary house, or a prison camp, or a ship: but it is, in the end, where you find it, however far you have to go. Read this book, and make the journey yourself.
My story: Wild Flowers
Henny lost her lover, Anna, during the war. Now, in post-war Berlin, as she joins other women rebuilding their shattered city from its ash-grey ruins, she recalls happier times – and finds new hope in a younger woman, Ruth.
Available in ebook and paperback:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble |
Please note: All proceeds will be donated to the British Refugee Council (Registered Charity No. 1014576).
Wow. That’s all I can say to that… and going to go buy
Thank you. ❤
Beautiful scene-setting, and I loved the description of Anna.
Thanks – this is definitely one of my more visual stories.
You paint a pretty picture of that sad, sad time.
When you look at archive video and photos of Berlin, it’s shocking how much of the city was turned to rubble and ash. But the ultimate message is one of hope. 🙂
Oh, this is wonderful. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
Thank you. ❤
That was intense.
I’m just aching for the speaker…I read Christopher Isherwood, Gay Berlin, and I’m in the middle of a Magnus Hirschfeld biography by Charlotte Wolff. Even if I hadn’t, you’ve created a beautiful visual with words of some of the clubs that once existed. ;_;
It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it, knowing what was there and what was to come? ❤
That story was such a little gem.
Wow. So poignant. I love it.
Thank you! ❤
This was brilliant! I felt every emotion.
Aw, thank you!
I just thought I heard my grandmother! Not that she ever had a lover called Anna, but she’d say the same about pre-War Berlin. Having grown up in the post-War, socialist-rebuilt era, I never got it.
Delighted to hear Henny’s voice sounded so real to you. ❤
Gorgeous and heartbreaking.
Heartbreaking and stunning, all at once.