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When Love and War Collide


When Love and War Collide

Cheryl Adnams’ next book We’ll Meet Again is is a historical romance set amidst of WWII. To celebrate its release we asked her for her best ‘romance in the time of war’ recommendations!

My new book We’ll Meet Again is set during World War II and weaves together two love stories between Australian sisters Elizabeth and Maggie Cardwell and American brothers Cody and Tom Baker. The story moves from Hawaii to Sydney and Darwin, following the sisters on their separate paths as the great American invasion of Australia begins in 1942. While it was Maggie who dated Cody in Hawaii, it’s Elizabeth who runs into him in Darwin and despite her best efforts she begins to fall in love with him. Maggie, on the other hand, is having her own romantic challenges as she dates nightclub owner Bill Kelly, who promises to make her a star ­– a promise that will be put to the test when a face from the past appears and turns Maggie’s life upside down.

Romance set against a backdrop of war is an incredibly popular genre. But what is it about war stories that we find so romantic? More often than not, war films will include a romantic plot or sub-plot – why? Well, production companies will probably tell you it’s because it broadens the scope of the audience and puts bums on seats in cinemas.

But it is not all make-believe. There are countless true and beautiful love stories that came out of World War II. Just look at the massive movement of war brides as, after the war, women followed their soldier loves back to their home countries.

So, why do we love to see love and war collide? Does love bloom during war because of the desperate feeling that life is short and every moment counts? Is it that war heightens the senses? Is it the need to know that the fighting is for a greater good than just world domination or politics, or that there is someone back home worth fighting for? Probably all of the above.

Here are five of my favourite ‘love and war’ films. They all include a love story of sorts – not always a happy one, but just as romantic.


The agony of love lost is on full display here as Moroccan cafe owner Rick (Bogie) struggles with whether or not to help his former lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and her fugitive husband escape the Nazis. The ‘will they or won’t they get back together’ trope keeps you hanging on, but this is not your average happy ending since Rick doesn’t get the girl but walks off into the distance with the local policeman.

Their Finest

Writer Catrin (Gemma Arterton) is hired by a WWII propaganda film company to write ‘the slop’, as they call dialogue for women, and meets screenwriter Tom (Sam Claflin). Romance blooms for this like-minded couple as they write an uplifting Dunkirk movie, but sadly the bombing of Britain takes its toll on this pair.

Shining Through

Feisty ‘half Jewish, half Irish’ secretary Linda (Melanie Griffiths) and American colonel-turned-spy Ed (Michael Douglas) fall in love before America enters the war. Linda petitions to travel to Germany as a cook to spy on Nazi officers, and when she gets shot trying to escape Ed rushes in to save her. This includes one of my all-time favourite meet-cutes. The banter between them as Linda puts the men in their place as she insists she ‘won’t be treated like a slave’ is exquisite.

Joyeux Noel

On the frontlines of World War I, a division of French, German and Scottish soldiers put aside their differences on Christmas Eve. After the war has kept them apart for months, lovers and opera singers Ana (Diane Kruger) and Nikolaus (Benno Furmann) defy all the odds to reunite for just one night. At her urging, he sneaks her into the German’s foxhole so they can be together and sing for the soldiers in this wonderful true story of the fraternisation of the troops at Christmas.

Pearl Harbor

A love triangle! Set against the backdrop of the bombing of Pearl Harbor that eventually brought America into the war, Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale) must choose between her first love pilot Rafe (Ben Affleck) and his best friend Danny (Josh Hartnett) who she turns to when Rafe is shot down over England and thought dead. An epic and incredibly accurate telling of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I’m firmly in the Team Danny camp on this one, especially once you get a load of the parachute warehouse sex scene. Steamy!

What would your Top 5 ‘love and war’ stories be?


Cheryl Adnams has published four Australian rural romance novels and three Australian historical novels. Cheryl has a Diploma in Freelance Travel Writing and Photography and has lived and worked in the United States and Canada, and spent two years working with a tour company in Europe. While she loves to travel overseas, especially to Italy, her favourite writing retreat is her own home on the stunning blue coastline of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. When she’s not writing, Cheryl is still creating in her busy full-time job as a learning designer.

Love war-torn romance? Don’t miss Cheryl’s latest book We’ll Meet Again

For readers of Victoria Purman, Kate Quinn and Alli Sinclair comes a poignant story of love, loss, ambition and family set against the dramatic backdrop of the second world war.

November 1941

Australian sisters Elizabeth and Maggie Cardwell have accompanied their father on his diplomatic assignment to Hawaii where bright blue skies, a radiant sun and the swaggering confidence of flirtatious American sailors make war feel like a distant threat. When the sisters meet the handsome Baker brothers on the sparkling white shores of Waikiki beach, Maggie falls hard and fast for Cody while Elizabeth discovers an easy friendship with his older brother, Tom, under the shared responsibility of chaperoning their wild younger siblings.

But mere days after the Cardwells board a ship back to Australia, Pearl Harbor is attacked and memories of sun-kissed afternoons and beach romance are fast eclipsed by fear and uncertainty.

With the war now very real to them all, the sisters embark on two very different paths that will take them to opposite ends of Australia, threaten their safety, and test their bonds of friendship and family. As the war continues to tear lives and loves apart, neither sister expects to cross paths with the Baker brothers again. But perhaps the pull of fate is even more powerful than the chaos of war …

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