Father - a World War II novella.


The Reviews are in!


January 1, 2022.

In 1942 everything is going good for Tanner Hill. He has a good job, two healthy sons and a wife who loves him. As he makes lots of extra cash with his moonshine, he can afford many luxuries his neighbours cannot. And he’s not worried about conscription.

However, he soon realizes good things do not last forever. One argument after church with a disgruntled man with revenge on his mind and Tanner’s world is turned upside down. Forced into making a choice, Tanner chooses to follow his brothers and enlists. He leaves for the fighting so far away as a private in the Royal Canadian Engineers.

It will be three years until Tanner returns home. It won’t be the same.

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November 17, 2022

5 Star Review from Anne Meyrick of Australia.

Set during World War 2, Father follows the experiences of Tanner Hill from 1942 through to his return home after the war. This novella starts with a prologue detailing the arrival of two Hill brothers in Canada in the 1840s and the lives they build for themselves in the New Brunswick area. Tanner has inherited from his grandfather, one of those two brothers, not only his name but his skill at making moonshine. Living surrounded by family, by June 1942, Tanner is in his late thirties, has a beautiful wife he loves, two young sons, a job as a mechanic and a lucrative sideline making moonshine. Life is good. But all this is put in jeopardy by the vindictive actions of a disgruntled customer and Tanner feels his only option is to volunteer for the Canadian army.

Tanner is soon shipped out to England and then on to Sicily. The narrative traces the progress of the war showing the human consequences of it through Tanner’s eyes. Pointed vignettes bring home the cost to both soldiers and citizens, even the enemy. These moments show Tanner’s character, his compassion and his strengths as well as his weaknesses which he excuses by thinking them the consequence of war, not the way he would behave at home in Canada.

The last quarter of the novel deals with Tanner’s homecoming. I found this section, in many ways, the most compelling with its understanding of the range of emotions soldiers faced on their arrival back home, their hopes of a return to the idyll the past had become in their minds challenged by reality. Tanner’s reactions are realistic and truly show the measure of the man.

The characters in Father are well rounded and portrayed sympathetically, their strengths and weaknesses shown. No one is wholly good or bad, even Lloyd McDuff, the man who turns Tanner’s world upside down – despite his unpleasant character there is a moment were the reader feels the desperation that is driving him.

Hudson’s unembellished prose skillfully creates Tanner Hill’s world. The descriptions of the physical environment, particularly in the Canadian sections, are beautiful and always tied closely to the action, enhancing the atmosphere.
There is only the scatter of something small through the dead leaves, maybe a rabbit, or a snake. Birds skitter in the canopy searching for insects and spiders, their chirp-like warnings the only other sound.

Father is, ultimately, an uplifting and truly human story that stays in the mind long after the reading is finished.

March 3, 2022

5 Star Review
Author Monique Th├ębeau

Thank you, Allan, for a highly entertaining drama!

A+ for characters development and all of the great details that appeared in your story. It flowed extremely well and kept me turning the pages to discover Tanner’s amazing journey from good old New Brunswick to Europe during wartime. You know your history well and I particularly enjoyed reading the details of Tanner’s comings and goings during the war.

Towards the end of your book, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how Tanner and his wife would ever reconcile their differences. You did an amazing job of bringing them back together. A must-read.

5 Star Review
Author Janet Sanford.

"From small town New Brunswick to the battlefields of Europe, the struggles of the main character, Tanner Hill, kept me reading. The author’s knowledge of World War II and his sympathetic portrayal of Tanner’s strengths and weaknesses make the novella compelling and believable. An enjoyable read!"

5 Star Review
Author Sally Cronin

"At the heart of this story is family and its complex relationships. To set the scene the author shares the arrival and progress of the Hill brothers from new immigrants to an established clan of descendents settled into a variety of occupations in the early 1940s Canada.

Times are tough for many and making a little extra cash, even if it is on the illegal side, makes all the difference to a growing family. Many are in the know… but it only takes one disgruntled customer to cause a life changing showdown.

With war waging in Europe, and for more reasons than just patriotism, Tanner and his brothers enlist and find themselves caught up in the campaigns to take strategic targets such as Sicily and the rest of Italy. Tanner’s story is shared in detail as he spends three years moving across Europe as part of the invasion force, facing danger and losses of those close to him. The detail included by the author creates an authentic and compelling coverage of the events during those campaigns, bringing home the effect on the men and women physically and mentally.

Contact with home is rare and a return at the end of the conflict comes with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety about what has changed in the years apart. Tanner has some truths to face that will force him to look at his own actions to enable him to move forward with acceptance and for the future of his family.

A recommended read."

5 Star Review
Author Anne Smith-Nochasak

Set in rural New Brunswick during the Second World War, 'Father' tells the story of Tanner Hill, a happily married family man with steady work as a mechanic and a sideline as a moonshiner. A conflict after church one day leads to police attention to this secondary line of work, and Tanner, a few years older than the average recruit, decides enlisting is preferable to the alternative at home.

The book takes us into and through the latter war years, with the impact on Tanner, family members, and those he encounters. When Tanner returns, life at home has changed in significant ways, and all must cope.

This is not a text to be skimmed; every line, every detail, is there for a purpose and must be absorbed. The family history in the prologue grounds the story, and each event is significant. Characters are portrayed in all their strengths and weaknesses, without judgment. The war experiences focus on the pathos in each encounter. It is a quiet story, of the little moments. It held my attention, and remains with me.

5 Star Review by Author Darlene Foster

A wonderful 5 star review for Father. From author Darlene Foster. "A quick read that carries a punch. There are no wasted words in this tale about family and the effects of war on relationships. The characters are real and relatable. The main character, Tanner Hill, is a flawed individual, but one you can't help but love. The author paints a picture, with carefully chosen words, that takes the reader to a specific time and place. An enjoyable read, I recommend this book." https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59970173-father

A teaser from Page 32. Chapter 6.

With the long hood and wraparound grill, wide whitewall tires, Leslie’s Chrysler is an eye-catcher. People stop and look when he cruises down Main Street. He laments on the ride to Moncton how much he’ll miss the car.  Tanner teases him.

“More than the wife?”

He doesn’t answer. 

A teaser from Chapter 0ne.

June 20, 1942.


Music from Ricky’s Dance Hall is blaring out the open windows. The Harnett brothers play guitar with Morty Filmore on the standup bass. Charlie Doyle plays the fiddle and his wife Nelly plays the washboard strapped to her chest. She’s the caller and sings her calls to the square dancers.

“Allemande left with your left hand,
follow through with a right-left grand.
Now leave your partner, the dirty ol’ thing,
follow through with an elbow swing”.

A teaser from Page 9.


A Tanner Hill story. July, 1942.

They begin discussing the latest war news when Lloyd McDuff, the village fop, approaches Tanner and pulls him aside. Tanner looks down at the shoes and sees himself in the shine. Baggy cuffed trousers and jacket in summer linen, light blue and airy. A paisley ascot in an open white shirt hides his weak chin. The white fedora shades eyes which are hard to trust. The smile is what the women like, the cunning is what Tanner hates. In a whisper, pleading in its resonance.

“Tanner, I need some help. I need some cash. Lend me fifty dollars.”

Another teaser from Page 4.

Tanner’s doing a good business himself. His ’39 Chevy coupe is parked in the tall grass behind the dance hall, trunk open. There are no windows on the building in the back. The moon is half full and the sky is clear enough that he can make out the numbers on the bills he’s being passed when someone buys his ‘shine.

"Tanner made the mash up three weeks before, having added the yeast last Sunday. It’s ready for distillation. He added it to the still and built a fire under it. Not much later, he’s holding mason jars under the drip line at the bottom of the wormbox. Copper tubing coming from the thumper, where it was distilled a second time, is wrapped in a coil through cold water from the brook. The vapor cools to a clear potent liquid of 120 proof alcohol. The mash has been simmering perfectly and he can smell the corn and the yeast."

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