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April 10, 1919. The war in Europe, the Great War, the War to End All Wars, is over—America and her allies have defeated the German forces. The USS Mongolia arrives in Boston carrying over 5,000 soldiers and sailors returning from France. Thousands are gathered on Commonwealth Pier to welcome the returning doughboys, dancing, waving flags, singing, and celebrating the safe return of their loved ones.

But war changes things. It changes nations, and it changes people, both those who fought and those who waited anxiously back home. One soldier among the thousands arriving in Boston on this day is not joining in the celebrations. He is a young man from Holyoke, Massachusetts. He enlisted out of a sense of duty to his nation, little knowing the pain, the hurt he would suffer. His wounds are not those of gunshots or mustard gas or influenza, they are wounds of the heart and the soul, and they are deep.

In Darkest Before Dawn, Book 4 of the Trolley Days Series, Massachusetts author Robert T. McMaster traces the lives of four young people growing up in a time of turmoil and wrenching change for their country, their hometown, and themselves.

Darkest Before Dawn
by Robert T. McMaster
Unquomonk Press, 2022
332 pages, 50 illustrations
ISBN 9798428349832


Trolley Days Book Series

The nineteen-teens was a tumultuous era in American history. The pace of social change was dizzying: the rising tide of worker unrest, the battle for women's suffrage, the scourge of discrimination against minorities. New technologieselectricity, the telephone, the automobile–were transforming life. Meanwhile the war raging in Europe was drawing America inexorably into its vortex.

Author Robert T. McMaster transports his readers back in time to early 20th century America in the Trolley Days Series of historical novels. Set in a bustling New England industrial city, these books follow the lives of teenagers Jack Bernard and Tom Wellington through good times and bad, hope and despair, love and loss. Readers young and old will be captivated by the world of their grandparents and great-grandparents, an era seemingly remote that nonetheless speaks to us across the generations.

Trolley Days, The Dyeing Room, Noah’s Raven, and Darkest Before Dawn are currently available in paperback and in several eBook formats.


"Holyoke, Westfield Sites Featured in
Series of Historical Mystery Novels
by Mike Lydick
The Reminder

(Springfield, Mass.)
May 5, 2022



Darkest Before Dawn



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Rose of Glenkerry

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