Tom Hintgen / Daily Journal: Author and novelist Christine Keleny, left, was helped in her research by Marcy Korda of Pelican Rapids for her new novel, “A Burnished Rose,” about Army nurses during World War II.

Archived Story

PR resident provided help with WWII novel [UPDATED]

Published 11:00am Tuesday, August 2, 2011 Updated 11:00am Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When Madison, Wis., native Christine Keleny was researching for a novel about World War II Army nurses, she came in contact with long-time Pelican Rapids resident Marcy Korda, 90.

“I was lucky enough to talk to Marcy and get information from an actual surgical nurse from the 95th Evacuation Hospital,” said Keleny, who took part in a book reading and signing Saturday, the same day as Art in the Park In Pelican Rapids.

The book, “A Burnished Rose,” entertains, inspires, and reminds people about what life was like for women of that era. It’s also a tribute to the nurses who, right along with the men, made significant sacrifices for their country.

The book is a fictional story about Rose Krantz who grew up on a family farm in southwest Wisconsin. On Dec. 7, 1941, bombs explode on the small, distant island of Hawaii. This incident pushes Rose to military service as a nurse.

“During my research, Marcy provided me with memorabilia, letters, supply slips and even her old dress uniform that I was able to use to help make the story of Rose’s time as a nurse in World War II that much more real,” said Keleny. “I also took stories from books that a doctor and other World War II nurses wrote about, recalling their time in the service. Putting it all together was a challenge.”

Another part of the novel includes Rose’s brother taking a job with the the Flying Tigers.

“I was able to show a small bit of what went on for many in that large, world conflict and a bit about what went on at home,” said Keleny.

The author’s regular paying job, in Wisconsin, is her work as manager of a physical therapy clinic and as a physical therapist.

“I like the outdoors and I enjoy doing things with my hands: crochet, cross stitch, paint, beginning knitter, and handyman,” said Keleny. “I consider myself a jack of all trades and a master of none.”

Saturday’s book reading and signing took place at the Pelican Rapids Public Library.

“My father served in World War II, and was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, so I’ve always had an interest in the Second World War,” said Keleny. “Marcy (Korda) took care of people like my father.”

The author said that Korda, a native of Iowa, and other nurses went through a lot during World War II.

“These women had a limited amount of water for even the basics such as bathing and washing their clothes,” said Keleny. “They served in tent hospitals, similar to what we saw in the movie and TV show MASH. But unlike MASH, theirs was a traveling tent hospital.”

One of Marcy Schlemma Korda’s fellow nurses lost her life when a tent hospital was bombed in Italy.

Schlemma’s future husband, Henry, was a doctor who worked in the 95th Evacuation Hospital. After their marriage and after the war the couple settled in Pelican Rapids. They raised five children.

A “Burnished Rose” is a sequel to Keleny’s first novel, “Rosebloom,” published in 2008.

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