(To help cut down on spoilers, I've put the title of the book first, so if you haven't read it, you're welcome to skip ahead.)
1. The Inklings
While they aren't fictional, the real friendship of Tolkien and several of his friends, and sacrifice of some of their lives among the horrors of World War One, must have profoundly impacted him. Imagine losing your creative support group and some of your close friends to the horror of war.
2. At Home in Mitford
Captain Willard James Porter served in France and died there. With his death died the possibility of love for beautiful Miss Sadie. She told Father Tim about their tempestuous romance after the grace of years had greyed both their heads. If Jan Karon had written the story of Sadie and Willard at the time it took place, I know I would have been heart-broken reading it.
3. Return of the King
Theoden, King of the Rohan, died in valiant battle on the Fields of Pelennor. His life was one of courage, of deep grief, of gallant warfare, heading into the likely possibility of horrible defeat. It was him leading his men into battle that helped stem the tide of evil pouring into the city of Gondor.
4. Rilla of Ingleside
Walter Shirley, who wrote a letter just before going over the top, was one of the casualties of the tragedy of World War One. A gallant representation of the heroes of Canada and one of Anne's precious children. While it's been years since I've read this book, I think this year needs to be one of revisiting it.
They sacrificed the love of women, of family, of friendship, so that others might live in peace to love wives, siblings, and friends. And fiction is only a mirror of something that is all too real. Many people today are remembering losses of fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, and friends.
Which literary fallen soldiers do you want to remember in literature? Who from real life are you remembering this Memorial Day? I've love to hear about it.
PS. A couple of the heroes in this list died in World War One. 2017 is another year in the centennial of the war. I'm trying to publish War of Loyalties to mark one hundred years since my characters tried to overturn a ring of German spies in England. There are 26 days to raise the funds to publish this project. Would you consider sharing the project on social media and contributing to it here? (20% unlocks a sneak peak at the first character quote poster!)