The Soldier and the Rose (Harlequin Everlasting Love Series #19)
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The Soldier and the Rose (Harlequin Everlasting Love Series #19)

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by Linda Barrett

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World War II to Present. Her Joe. Killed during the Second World War. Rose Kaufman thought she'd never stop grieving. He died without even seeing his baby daughter. But Charlie Shapiro, Joe's war buddy, didn't die. He came home to Brooklyn and dreamed of rebuilding his shattered life. With Rose...

It's hard to believe sixty years have passed since


World War II to Present. Her Joe. Killed during the Second World War. Rose Kaufman thought she'd never stop grieving. He died without even seeing his baby daughter. But Charlie Shapiro, Joe's war buddy, didn't die. He came home to Brooklyn and dreamed of rebuilding his shattered life. With Rose...

It's hard to believe sixty years have passed since Rose said "I do" to Charlie. Sixty years since she entered this marriage of convenience...not knowing if she'd ever love the gentle, caring man who adored her without question. Can love be as true the second time around? For Charlie, now in his eighties, only one woman can answer that.

Product Details

Publication date:
Harlequin Everlasting Love Series , #19
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.80(d)

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Read an Excerpt

"Love is not for cowards."
Rose Shapiro whispered the words with conviction as she sewed another row of sequins onto the new ivory silk jacket she'd wear the following evening. Ivory silk. Appropriate for celebrating a sixtieth wedding anniversary, and so different from the plain navy suit she'd worn to the wedding. She closed her eyes, shutting out that memory, shutting out the pain and confusion that accompanied her second marriage. Her marriage to Charlie.
Love is not for cowards. She understood that now, but she hadn't in the beginning when Joe had been the love of her life, and cotton-candy dreams beckoned them as they said their I do's. She'd grown up a lot since then.
She sighed and opened her eyes, once again stitching carefully. Not many couples reached sixty years of marriage. But she and Charlie had. She knotted and cut her thread, then viewed her efforts with a critical eye.
Cataract surgery last year had turned out to be a boon to her sewing skills, not that she'd thought of sewing as an art form. Using a needle had been a measure of economy during her girlhood, and she hadn't been able to break the habit later on when her pockets were fuller. Especially not with the prices of manufactured goods. In amused tones, her three children had blamed her "Depression mentality."
"The jacket is beautiful, Rosie mine," came a warm voice from the bedroom doorway. "But not as beautiful as you."
"Maybe it's your turn to have a cataract removed." She glanced playfully at Charlie's sparkling green eyes, also noting his recent haircut. Her man of sixty years was ready to party.
"There's nothing wrong with my vision," he replied, reaching for her hand. "Come on, sweetheart. It's time to practice our moves. Don't want to make fools of ourselves on the dance floor tomorrow night."
No chance of that—at least not when she was wrapped in Charlie's arms—but she didn't argue. She replaced the jacket on the padded hanger and stepped toward him.
"Ah, Rosie…" He held her close and began to hum "La Vie En Rose." Her song. He'd been singing it to her in two languages ever since they got married…after the war. In fact, Charlie had been romancing her since he'd met her. She hadn't always appreciated it; he wasn't Joe.
But they'd gotten past that, although not easily and not quickly. Which was why she'd planned a special surprise for Charlie tomorrow.
She kissed him on the cheek, inhaling his woodsy cologne. "Mmm…I've always loved that fragrance."
"You think I don't know?" His laughter was deep and carefree. "Life is good, Rosie, huh?"
"As good as possible for a couple of creaky octogenarians," she replied. She had no complaints, except…
Love is not for cowards.
Her heart lurched. If she was blinking rapidly now to stave off tears, they were not for herself, but for her beloved granddaughter and the young husband who adored her. Pregnant Elizabeth. Devoted Matthew. Matthew—who was about to be deployed to Iraq.
She inhaled deeply. Gathered her thoughts. The children would have to find their own way, of course, but the irony struck Rose, who'd been in the same position—pregnant with Susan, Elizabeth's mother, when Joe shipped out.
Keeping silent would kill Rose now. But she would not turn Liz's phantom worries into concrete reality. When Joe died, Rose had fallen apart; Liz didn't need to hear the details. Matthew would not die. At least, he probably wouldn't.
She would not have Liz thinking Charlie was second best in Rose's eyes. He didn't deserve that. War was war. Some returned and some didn't, and life had to begin again. God help them all.
She smiled up at Charlie and reaffirmed her original answer. "Life is good, Charlie. Very good."
Her voice quivered this time, and he squeezed her hand. "Matt's a doctor. He won't be on the front lines."
"You a mind reader?"
"Only with you." He kissed her quickly and added, "Paul drove over. He and I are going for a walk. Want to join us?"
A leisurely stroll with Charlie and their son-inlaw tempted Rose, but she hesitated.
"It's a gorgeous autumn day," Charlie cajoled.
"I need to press my fancy-schmancy suit. Can't show up with more wrinkles than I have to!"
But that wasn't the real reason she stayed behind. The past had taken hold. Visual memories. Sense memories. Battles. Letters. Tears. Weddings. Children. And laughter, too. A kaleidoscope of her eighty-five years. Maybe preparations for the anniversary party had evoked them. Maybe Matthew's looming deployment… She'd certainly been maudlin since the day Liz and Matthew had announced their pregnancy last month right in the living room of Rose's Long Island home.
"We're very happy," Liz had said to the assembled family. "We both want children, and the timing's lousy, but…" She lifted her chin, her dark eyes burning.
Fear turned her granddaughter inside out. Rose saw it, heard it, and took a shaky breath. Pregnant! Rose's head pounded, and her heartbeat ricocheted. Been there, done that, my darling girl. And survived. But she didn't want her sweet Lizzy to suffer that same heartache.
Keep your wits about you, Rosie. The children need you. But the children had been focused only on each other at that moment, just as she and Joe had been lost in each other before he went off to war.
She'd glanced at her daughter. Pale, too pale. Susan had never met Joe, her natural father, and although she loved Charlie deeply, she'd never forgotten that fact. Her eyes had flashed with anger—her daughter pregnant and Matt deployed—but Susan had merely shifted closer to Paul and remained quiet.
"Nothing will happen to me," Matthew had declared, placing a serious kiss on his wife's mouth.
"I love you, Liz, with everything I've got, but I owe Uncle Sam for my education, and after a year in the Middle East, I'll be stateside again."
"I know," Liz had whispered, snuggling closer to Matt.
"God willing," Rose had uttered at the same time. She repeated the words silently now as she smoothed her long skirt before going to her walk-in closet. She turned on the light, hung the new suit and reached overhead for a familiar, large rosewood box. Carefully wrapped in plastic, it was a six-sided piece with a silver filagree knob in the center of the cover and a garland of roses inlaid around the edge. Rose polished the wood as regularly as she did her furniture; the rich patina glowed.
The Dream Box. Originally intended as a kind of hope chest, it now held her personal history—reminders of her joy and pain. Even sixty years with a good man couldn't erase all the pain. In the end, however, it didn't matter because somehow, together, she and Charlie had become one.
She carried the Dream Box to the desk she'd brought from her parents' house, and carefully set it down. With a trembling hand, she lifted the lid and reached inside.
Rose had written every single invitation by hand. Enough for the whole family, enough for the whole neighborhood. Her papa and mama had no money to splurge on printed invitations—no one she knew did—but Rose had the energy and desire to mark the once-in-a-lifetime occasion. So, with her fine-pointed fountain pen, a supply of India ink and plain white paper, she'd become a scribe for her own wedding. Then she'd personally delivered every one of the invitations to the aunts, uncles, cousins—the whole mishpocha—in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
And now they were all here, gathering downstairs in the big living room and in the hallway— anywhere space allowed on the street-level floor of her family's brownstone.
She hadn't seen Joe yet and wouldn't before the ceremony, not that she was superstitious. Not really. But on her wedding day, she'd do nothing to invite bad luck, and remained out of sight in the upstairs bedroom she shared with her sisters.
She started to hum, then sway, then waltz around the bedroom. "'You'd…be…so easy to love…'" Not a great voice, but today she would sing.
Joe! Her heart raced as she thought about him. She loved that man, so thankful her friend Sarah had an older brother. So delighted that Joe had finally viewed her in that special way girls dreamed about.
Rose had noticed him years before. He was everything a girl could want—well educated, handsome, funny and respected. A professional man— steady and reliable. Teaching high-school English meant a paycheck they could count on—and needed—because Rose, at twenty, had two more years of college ahead of her before she could contribute. Rose's family was as poor as everyone else's in the neighborhood, but all the Kaufman kids went to college. "For a good future," her papa would say, "not like now." The City University was free, a bonus for living in New York and earning good grades in high school.
"Dum…dee…dum…dum…all others above…" She grasped the bedpost and continued to sway and hum "So Easy to Love." So right! Joe and Rose. Rose and Joe. Mrs. Joseph Abraham Rabinowitz. Lucky, lucky… A lifetime together wouldn't be enough. She'd fix up their small apartment, make it special.
"Dum…dum…to waken with…" she sang softly.
Footsteps sounded in the hall. The door opened and her sister Edith stood there, apron tied around her waist, her face flushed from the heat of the kitchen. Her eyes sparkled, however, as she took charge.
"Mama sent me to help you. It's almost time." Edith walked to the closet where Rose's wedding dress hung on the door.
"Is Joe here yet?" Rose whispered, suddenly finding it difficult to speak.
Edith nodded. "The rabbi's here, too, and every-one's making their way upstairs now." She waved toward the front of the house. "We were smart to take all the beds apart and clear out the other rooms up here. There's lots more space than downstairs, especially now when it's too cold to use the backyard."
Her sister kept chatting, but her hands were busy as usual. Edith was the oldest, their mother's first in line to assist and maybe the one most like Annie. A real baleboosteh, Edith could do anything, not that Rose and Gertie were left idle. In Annie Kaufman's house, everyone had jobs to do.
"Thank you, Edith." Rose reached for her sister.
"So much cooking and cleaning…" Suddenly her eyes filled with tears, and Edith had a handkerchief ready to blot them.

Meet the Author

When anyone asks Linda how she met her husband, she always says, "by accident," because on their first date the couple hit a telephone pole and ended up in a ditch. They crawled out of the car and hitched a ride to the local hospital in upstate New York. Totaling the car and getting a few stitches didn't bother her. How to tell her very protective dad did! She figured it out and is happy to report that her marriage to Michael is going strong with three grown sons, two lovely daughters-in-law and three gorgeous, amazingly intelligent and fabulous grandchildren.

Always an avid reader, Linda discovered the romance genre as an adult raising her family in Massachusetts. The emotion and satisfying endings hooked her and became her lifesaver through long northern winters. One day, she found herself at the kitchen table, typewriter in front of her. The reader had become a writer…or was trying to become one.

Linda's writing life changed when she and her family moved to Texas in 1995. She joined the West Houston chapter of RWA, attended every workshop and conference they sponsored and wrote, wrote, and wrote some more. She sold her first book to Harlequin's Superromance line in May 2000 and continues to write for that line. She also contributes to the Everlasting Love line, her first book scheduled for November 2007.

Linda grew up in New York City and is a graduate of Hunter College with a B.A. in Sociology and an M.S. in education. When she's not composing fiction, she writes resumes for homeless job seekers and manages a food pantry in a non-profit agency.

Linda loves hearing from readers.

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Soldier and the Rose (Harlequin Everlasting Love Series #19) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Linda Barrettâ¿¿s THE SOLDIER AND THE ROSE is a heartwarming love story and family saga spanning a period of over sixty years beginning in World War II and ending in the present day. Rose Kaufman married Joe Rabinowitz on December 7, 1941. They enjoyed six glorious months together before he was shipped overseas. She wrote many letters to Joe over the course of the war, announcing her pregnancy, recounting the milestones in baby Susanâ¿¿s life, and always professing her love for Joe. Charlie Shapiro was under Joeâ¿¿s command during the war. Joe shared Roseâ¿¿s letters with his men, and most of them grew to love herâ¿¿Charlie included. Charlie was with Joe when he was killed. After the war ends, Charlie visits Rose and falls more deeply in love with her and her daughter. To help Rose out of a difficult situation, he offers a marriage of convenience, knowing she still grieves for Joe. Can Rose find a place in her heart for Charlie? Or will Charlie have to live with Joeâ¿¿s ghost for the rest of his life? THE SOLDIER AND THE ROSE is a captivating tale with a large ensemble of endearing characters. The story is woven around Rose and Charlie preparing to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary. We know they have a long-enduring marriage. We know they love one another deeply. But how did they overcome the obstacles standing in their way? With the finesse of a Hollywood director, Ms. Barrett flawlessly uses flashbacks and the letters written by Rose to her dead husband, to propel the reader back and forth through time, making the story richly layered and textured, both in the past and the present. THE SOLDIER AND THE ROSE is an outstanding work of fiction, with a fresh and unique presentation. I was so invested in the charactersâ¿¿ lives, I truly didnâ¿¿t want the story to end. When I finished the book, I immediately read it again from first page to lastâ¿¿something Iâ¿¿ve never done before. I highly recommend this soul-stirring book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
During World War II, Rose Kaufman¿s beloved spouse Joe died in combat without once seeing his daughter, born after he left to go overseas. His friend Charlie Shapiro survived war physically, but struggles emotionally. He had vowed to his brother in arms that if Joe died and he lived, he would visit Rose when he returned to Brooklyn to tell her he loved her. However, Charlie soon knows he loves Rose and Joe¿s daughter although he assumes she does not return his feelings, Charlie persuades Rose to marry him, which she does.------------------------- In the present history repeats itself as their granddaughter Liz is expecting a child while her spouse Matt is in Iraq. This, as they celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage, leads Rose and Charlie to reflect on their life together. He believes his cherished wife never loved him as he could never compete with the ghost of Joe although in truth he never wanted to as Joe was his buddy. -------------- This engaging relationship drama contains two strong lead characters and an incredibly developed support cast, mostly family members. Charlie¿s muse of loving his wife for sixty years through not believing she returned his feelings and Rose¿s thoughts on how she feels about her caring second husband and her first A Guy Named Joe make for a deep character study. Although the action is limited, fans who appreciate a deep introspective tale will enjoy the SOLDIER AND THE ROSE.----------- Harriet Klausner