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Best-Selling LDS Author Dean Hughes Releases His 101st Book

Agatha Christie wrote 69 novels in her lifetime. Stephen King has written 54 so far. But LDS author Dean Hughes has topped them both—two of history's most successful and prolific writers—with his new novel, Home and Away: a World War II Christmas Story, which will be his 101st published book.

The novel is about a family who struggles to find the joy of Christmas during the horrors of World War II. Money is tight, and the oldest son is in Europe on the front lines. The family's 16-year-old boy, Dennis, is reflective of the author's own story growing up. During the novel, Dennis struggles with his relationship with his father and seeks to give his mother the perfect Christmas gift. "In many ways, this is my story," Hughes said. "It started with an actual experience in my life—during the 50's, not the 40's—and Dennis's struggles are ones I faced growing up."

New York Times best-selling author Jason F. Wright describes the novel as "beautifully nostalgic." He goes on to say that Hughes "expertly captures the spirit of family, of war, and of Christmas. Home and Away isn't just a book—it's a gift."

Hughes first wrote Home and Away as a short story that was published by Deseret Book in a collection called Once Upon a Christmastime. "You'll notice that each character in [the novel] is dealing with challenges to his or her faith," he said. "Times of great stress can test us and often bring out the worst in us—or the best. I've gone through times of questioning and doubt in my life, just as these characters do, but in the end, my faith has been strengthened by my experiences. I don't want to offer any easy answers in my fiction, but I do try to encourage the idea that faith can get us through the hard times of our lives."

"I hope readers will feel the emotion of the book and the powerful influence for good that Christmas brings," he continued. "I tried to let the love the family felt in spite of their stress lead them toward hope. I'd like to think that families can pass through difficult times and use those challenges to deepen their commitment to one another."

-->Click here to read our extended Q&A with Dean Hughes!

Photo from Deseret News
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Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but this year it is going to be difficult. Money is tight, and wartime rationing is taking its toll as well. Harder still, her oldest son, Glen, is on the front lines of the battle in Europe.

Glen Hayes wants nothing more than to be home for Christmas. He holds a sprig of lavender in his pocket. The scent reminds him of his mother. The memory of home may be the only thing that is keeping him alive and sane during the horrors of war.

Dennis Hayes is 16 and longs to see his older brother again. He also longs to have a relationship with his father, but most important, Dennis is determined to buy something special for his mother this Christmas—the one gift he feels certain she deserves.

So many families have had their hopes dashed in World War II. Will the Hayes family make it through? Pick up your copy of Home and Away: A World War II Christmas Story at Deseret Book stores and deseretbook.com.


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