Introducing Tommy

Dodging Shells is about a Canadian soldier fighting through Italy in World War II.

Tommy tells his own story, through letters to his twin sister in Toronto. He’s young–only nineteen when the book begins with the invasion of Sicily–but he’s been in the army and away from home, across an ocean, for over three years already. He was a street-wise and mischievous kid when he left home, and he’s a well-trained and mischievous kid when he sets foot in Sicily, with a sense of humour that even that dirty war couldn’t dampen.

Tommy’s my hero. He’s my dad (there! now you know the ending…) and I’ve heard many of the most entertaining bits since I was a very small child. He only ever talked about the amusing parts. I’ve pried a few of the grittier bits out of him for you, finally, but somehow, it all comes out funny. It’s in our nature.

My dad never had a twin sister–that’s what makes it fiction. But the experiences are all his. He gets whatever glory is going around, and he gets the blame. He’s okay with that. Here he is. Blame him if you like.

We spent a lot of time probing dad’s memory, of course, but I’ve put plenty of research into this book too, and what I found confirmed every word…including the bits I’d always taken with a grain of salt. I’ve even unearthed a surprise or two–things my dad himself never even knew–and I’ll share those with you, if you come back.

The research–personal reminiscences of people who lived through the war, books, newspaper articles, mementos–I turned up a lot of intriguing things that didn’t go into the book, and I don’t want it to go to waste. Sign up, over there on the right,  and you won’t miss a thing.

What do you want to know first? Why not go to the Dodging Shells page, and let me know.


About Wendy Bertsch

I’m a Canadian author—a pragmatic optimist with rather eclectic interests and a pervasive sense of humour. Toronto born and bred, I live by the lake with a motley array of dogs and a cat, all but myself being of unknown origin, in a comfortable old house filled with books. Over a thousand books. Books in every nook and cranny. And now, since there can never be too many books, I'm writing more. Once More, From the Beginning highlights the women in the bible. It's about time! And believe me, they see things quite differently. And in Dodging Shells, you'll meet the irrepressible Tommy, as he fights his way through Italy in World War II. You'll love Tommy. I do. Next? Well, that's a secret yet. Stay tuned... I recently initiated the fledgling Ocean Highway Books, providing editing, formatting and cover design services to authors wishing to self-publish.
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2 Responses to Introducing Tommy

  1. Boy, have you touched a cord with me. I am a first generation Italian Canadian. My italian vineyards on the Moro River (next door to the Moro River War Cemetary) are still in our possession. My mom lived through the battle of the Moro River and Ortona. I’ve dreamed of one day writing about this through the Italian villager’s point of view. I’m a published author myself.

    If your dad was involved in any of these locations, I’d dearly love to read your novel. I’m also a book reviewer and own two book review sites: and Please let me know. I can be contacted through either of these sites…Bless you for telling your father’s story. MIrella Patzer

  2. Robert Davidson says:

    A novel which captures the youthfulness and optimism of a young Canadian soldier, abroad for the first time, and describes his rites of passage to adulthood in war torn Italy. Full of humour, pathos and grit, Tommy’s describes the war and the Allied advance up the boot of Italy in laconic terms, which underplayed as they are, paradoxically reveal just how dangerous each day must have been. A wonderful tale told with wit and humour showing how the human spirit can surmount risk, hardship and fear with fortitude. A joy to read.

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