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Beneath The Wild Blue

Beneath The Wild Blue

by Marian Milner McCarthy


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In the aftermath of World War II, Fritzi and Joe Stoddard marry and fly off into the wild blue yonder, where he becomes a test pilot and Fritzi the quintessential Air Force Wife. Along the way, Fritzi gives birth to four children—two girls and two boys--while Joe moves up in rank and pays his dues as a pilot and officer.

For a few short years, the Stoddards are a shiny, adventurous American Air Force family, living wherever Joe’s career takes them and blooming wherever they are planted.

When they are transferred to a base in Italy, the Stoddards revel in the opportunity to explore Europe together. During the fireworks of an Italian festival, tragedy strikes, plunging the family into a free-fall of denial and grief.

How will they navigate a future none of them ever imagined?

"McCarthy populates this often moving story with a cast of fully drawn, authentic characters, shifting the narrative perspective seamlessly to see the world through each of their eyes. Fritzi, in particular, is a captivatingly complex figure who’s defiantly independent but also endearingly vulnerable...this novel offers an insightful look into the rigors of military life and some moments of powerful emotion." -- Kirkus Review

Beneath the Wild Blue provides us with a stunning portrait of a family of six under the constant stress that is such a key element of military life. Temporary assignments (TDY) can suddenly drop out of nowhere, requiring the family's service member to abandon his or her family without any notice, often for weeks at a time. The family is under so much stress that older children are routinely drafted as surrogate parents. The spouse of the service member is expected to accomplish the impossible, and if that doesn't happen, the resulting snafu is recorded on the member's 'efficiency report,' the key document that leads to promotions, plum assignments and higher pay.” – James Kenney

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780578525327
Publisher: Carpe Diem Productions
Publication date: 06/14/2019
Pages: 348
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Marian Milner McCarthy is a novelist with a long career as a freelancer, corporate communications consultant, technical copywriter, columnist, ghostwriter, editor and writing teacher.
Beneath the Wild Blue, her debut novel, is based on her experience as a mid-century military "brat," part of a vagabond family that traveled the world and never clung to one place.
An award-winning short story writer, Marian lives with her husband Jim in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they raised two daughters, Madeleine and Caitlin.

Table of Contents

PART 1: Blastoff

APPLE VALLEY, California January 28, 1986

“This flying game isn’t exactly new; it is said that ‘birds have always teased men.’ You will recall countless legends, exciting stories of mythology and historical attempts at flight dynamic.”

—Nancy Shea, The Air Force Wife

PART 2: Wild Blue


Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

“In 1487, Leonardo da Vinci made a systematic study of the flight of birds. His manuscript entitled Flight Versus Birds, written in Florence in 1505, is illustrated with a sketch showing the aviator in a horizontal position flapping the wings of a plane by means of ropes.”

—Nancy Shea, The Air Force Wife

PART 3: Yonder


NAPLES, Italy, and Montrose, Louisiana

“The Air Force is like one big family, and in times of sorrow and stress no intimate circle of friends of long standing could be closer or more deeply stirred...There is no hysterical outburst or display of emotion. Life on the base goes on as usual in a dignified manner...”

—Nancy Shea, The Air Force Wife

PART 4: Taps

AUGUST 17, 2008

Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

“A morbid preoccupation with one’s own tragedy is as distressing to others as callous flippancy. Dignified, honest sorrow is no discredit to any person, man or woman, and is never out of place.”

—Nancy Shea, The Air Force Wif



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