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An Unexpected Coddiwomple: The Story of a Father's Sudden Death, a Box of WWII Letters, and a Daughter's Life Transformed

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Coddiwomple (v.): To travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague, as-yet-unknown destination. By the time Loretto discovered the cache of WWII letters, her father had been dead almost 50 years. She'd accepted she would never know him. That changed when she decided to type his 500+ letters for her siblings. With each letter she heard her father's voice. With each place she Coddiwomple (v.): To travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague, as-yet-unknown destination. By the time Loretto discovered the cache of WWII letters, her father had been dead almost 50 years. She'd accepted she would never know him. That changed when she decided to type his 500+ letters for her siblings. With each letter she heard her father's voice. With each place she visited, each person she met, the 50 years without him melted away and the enduring gap that had opened between them when she was 4-years-old gradually began to close. An Unexpected Coddiwomple takes you on a journey through a captivating collection of letters abundant with humor, intrigue, and romance, across the U.S., to the U.K., and back again. Learn from the pilot himself, "Big Sundin," what actually happened when he ditched Heavy Date in the North Sea in 1945, saving the lives of the entire crew. Had Big Sundin not executed a "perfect ditching," she and her 6 siblings would not have been born. Through her father's own words, Loretto uncovers truths about her parentage that were buried with him in 1965, revealing decades of mysteries that culminate with an invitation to Buckingham Palace. It's a story of family, duty, faith, and a life transformed. It's a story of love.


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Coddiwomple (v.): To travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague, as-yet-unknown destination. By the time Loretto discovered the cache of WWII letters, her father had been dead almost 50 years. She'd accepted she would never know him. That changed when she decided to type his 500+ letters for her siblings. With each letter she heard her father's voice. With each place she Coddiwomple (v.): To travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague, as-yet-unknown destination. By the time Loretto discovered the cache of WWII letters, her father had been dead almost 50 years. She'd accepted she would never know him. That changed when she decided to type his 500+ letters for her siblings. With each letter she heard her father's voice. With each place she visited, each person she met, the 50 years without him melted away and the enduring gap that had opened between them when she was 4-years-old gradually began to close. An Unexpected Coddiwomple takes you on a journey through a captivating collection of letters abundant with humor, intrigue, and romance, across the U.S., to the U.K., and back again. Learn from the pilot himself, "Big Sundin," what actually happened when he ditched Heavy Date in the North Sea in 1945, saving the lives of the entire crew. Had Big Sundin not executed a "perfect ditching," she and her 6 siblings would not have been born. Through her father's own words, Loretto uncovers truths about her parentage that were buried with him in 1965, revealing decades of mysteries that culminate with an invitation to Buckingham Palace. It's a story of family, duty, faith, and a life transformed. It's a story of love.

22 review for An Unexpected Coddiwomple: The Story of a Father's Sudden Death, a Box of WWII Letters, and a Daughter's Life Transformed

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lucy-Bookworm

    What a delightful insight into a young man's life in the early 1940s. This is a series of letters from a young man to his family, interspersed with the modern day discoveries and developments that the author had as she discovered the letters that were hidden away for so long. Yes, it is repetitive - but his life was repetitive. However, amidst the daily grind we see a young man who had a strong faith, a strong sense of duty & a loyalty to his family & friends that is second to none. We get a gli What a delightful insight into a young man's life in the early 1940s. This is a series of letters from a young man to his family, interspersed with the modern day discoveries and developments that the author had as she discovered the letters that were hidden away for so long. Yes, it is repetitive - but his life was repetitive. However, amidst the daily grind we see a young man who had a strong faith, a strong sense of duty & a loyalty to his family & friends that is second to none. We get a glimpse into a young man who had an eye for pretty girls, yet treated them well, who had a penchant for cake and who loved receiving letters from home. We see his excitement in receiving a package coupled with his worry about whether those at home could do without the small treats they were sending him. The author has chosen to replicate the letters as they were originally written, with misspellings, archaic phrases & words we just wouldn't use these days. This makes it uncomfortable in parts to read, but at the same time it is completely appropriate in this context & I was struck by some of the heartfelt messages that this young man sends home: "I am trying my best to keep well and bring you back a better if possible, piece of carcass that the one I took away" It's a unique glimpse into a world that many of us have never known - and I like to think that maybe when my own Grandfather did his basic flying training in the USA in the early 1940s, that he may have met Frank or somebody like him. Thank you for sharing Frank's story with us. Disclosure: I received a copy of this free from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    Thank you to the author for taking the reader on your journey! Not many of us get such an intimate glimpse into our parents' lives and it is even more amazing that this happened after the death of a father that the author wasn't close to via letters. I cannot imagine what it was like to track down the places and people from her father's past and how much she learned about not him, but herself because of this. Thank you to the author for taking the reader on your journey! Not many of us get such an intimate glimpse into our parents' lives and it is even more amazing that this happened after the death of a father that the author wasn't close to via letters. I cannot imagine what it was like to track down the places and people from her father's past and how much she learned about not him, but herself because of this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    What a treasure this book is! An Unexpected Coddiwomple by Loretto M. Thompson is a love letter to family. I know, awkward I just said book about letters is a love letter but c'mon, cut me some slack. I'm behind on my reading and in my reviews. It seems like everyone has found extra reading time during the quarantine but me! How is it that I am reading less than ever?! Okay, enough kvetching, back to the book review. Ms. Thompson has an easy writing style that draws the reader in on this wonderfu What a treasure this book is! An Unexpected Coddiwomple by Loretto M. Thompson is a love letter to family. I know, awkward I just said book about letters is a love letter but c'mon, cut me some slack. I'm behind on my reading and in my reviews. It seems like everyone has found extra reading time during the quarantine but me! How is it that I am reading less than ever?! Okay, enough kvetching, back to the book review. Ms. Thompson has an easy writing style that draws the reader in on this wonderful adventure. Getting to know your father more than fifty years after his untimely death through daily letters written to his mother during WWII. Wow, that sounds like a charming but somewhat far-fetched plot to a movie. Yet it isn't a movie although it is charming. Make sure to have tissues I know I needed them. I wonder how many of us have been inspired to search for long lost letters in all th is books and crannies that collect both our known and unknown treasures. I know I hope to find a s similar treasure trove.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kremble

    Amazing true story about a daughter who discovers her father's letters. What a treasure to experience part of her journey in learning about the father she lost when she was only 4. The letter's are well written as is the book. A historic look back in time when men were patriotic and fought for our freedoms. A timely read for these unsettling times and a strong message for family and moral values. Amazing true story about a daughter who discovers her father's letters. What a treasure to experience part of her journey in learning about the father she lost when she was only 4. The letter's are well written as is the book. A historic look back in time when men were patriotic and fought for our freedoms. A timely read for these unsettling times and a strong message for family and moral values.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Loretto's father died when she was a small child, due to this she only has a few memories and doesn't really know who her father was. As an adult, she discovers that while serving in WWII, her father wrote to his mother nearly every day. She decided to type up these letters and bind them as a gift for her 6 siblings, which resulted in An Unexpected Coddiwomple. These letters are typed up as written, there are words we rarely see anymore, such as youse, spelling errors and other grammatical error Loretto's father died when she was a small child, due to this she only has a few memories and doesn't really know who her father was. As an adult, she discovers that while serving in WWII, her father wrote to his mother nearly every day. She decided to type up these letters and bind them as a gift for her 6 siblings, which resulted in An Unexpected Coddiwomple. These letters are typed up as written, there are words we rarely see anymore, such as youse, spelling errors and other grammatical errors, but this adds to the charm. It's a GI writing home in war time. Many of the subjects are repetitive, but he was also writing nearly every single day. These letters let us have a unique view into the life of a GI, and better yet, it was during WWII. I believe this complete access to be unprecedented, to have one man's letters and information to be so complete. This was an interesting and fun book. I was given an ARC by #NetGalley for my honest opinion of #AnUnexpectedCoddiwomple.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Cole

    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more interested in looking through old papers that my family has kept. I’ve learned about family members that I never knew, just as Loretto M. Thompson did in An Unexpected Coddiwomple. That is one thing that interested me in this book. Through letters written by her father, Loretto was able to piece together what her father was like. His letters home provided insight into what he went through during his time in the service. I know it helped her get to know her f As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more interested in looking through old papers that my family has kept. I’ve learned about family members that I never knew, just as Loretto M. Thompson did in An Unexpected Coddiwomple. That is one thing that interested me in this book. Through letters written by her father, Loretto was able to piece together what her father was like. His letters home provided insight into what he went through during his time in the service. I know it helped her get to know her father, but it helps those of us who lived after that time understand what it was like, too. The letters provide a glimpse of what life was like, the challenges people faced, and the danger that came with fighting in the war. The book serves to share that history with people today. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Carroll

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  9. 5 out of 5

    JuLee

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Kelley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Krista

  13. 4 out of 5

    James

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

  15. 5 out of 5

    Loretto M.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mahrukh Ahmed

  17. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

  18. 5 out of 5

    SEXYCAP74

  19. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  20. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

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