Canteen Dreams

Nebraska Brides Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Laural Merlington
Series: Cornhusker Dreams Series, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A heartwarming WWII historical from award-winning author Cara Putman.

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Nebraska schoolteacher Audrey Stone wants to support the war effort in any way she can. When her community starts a canteen at the train station, Audrey spends nearly every spare moment there, offering food and kindness to the soldiers passing through. She never expected to fall for a local boy...or face the challenges of budding love in the face of war.

Rancher Willard Johnson admires Audrey's passionate nature, but when his brother is killed in action, he feels he must avenge by enlisting himself. His father insists he stay, but Willard knows he must go. Reality intrudes, and he never expected the jealousy he experiences when he sees those in uniform.

Can Willard's budding relationship with Audrey weather the storms of war? Or will one of the other soldiers at the canteen steal her heart?

©2017 Cara Putman (P)2017 Cara Putman

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What listeners say about Canteen Dreams

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

World war 2 story about the war work at home

Enjoyed the faith of the ones in the story and how they called on God for help in their trials and the work they did

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Nice story

This was a nice story in the early days of the U.S. getting into WWII. A times when young men were torn to enlist and defend our country while women stepped forward looking for ways they could help. It was a lovely take of responsibilities, desires, and God's will over the characters and the disappointment of those moments

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Canteen dreams

This was a nice story. It had a lot of agonizing over a relationship, that seemed childish to me. And it had prayers asking for help from God, whenever the characters were confused.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful WWII (sweet) romance

This a great audiobook! Set during WWII, it takes place stateside as the community serves the troops that come through their depot!
The narrator did a wonderful job giving voice to the variety of characters!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great for fans of WWII era

I just finished listening to Canteen Dreams by Cara Putman, and I would highly recommend it, especially to fans of the WWII era. As the nation is swept into the vortex of WWII, Audrey Stone and Willard Johnson must find the path God intends for them. Together they wrestle with growing feelings for each other while figuring out God's will for their lives. For Audrey, that means finding a balance in her life while still contributing on the home front. For Willard, that means resolving the pull between his desire to serve in the armed forces and his desire to honor his parents.

There are two things that will really make this era come alive for the listener. First, as the daughter of a WWII vet, I can attest that the characters ring true. In fact, many times I felt like I was listening to my parents tell a story from "back in the day." Even the language the characters used made me feel like I was watching an old Clark Gable movie. The authentic characters pulled me into the story so well that I shed a few tears right along beside them. I will caution listeners that the story feels like it gets a slow start. However, the focus of this story seems to be more on internal conflict and that kind of character development takes time.

Second, the book is set completely within the United States. Because so many WWII books are set in war-torn regions, this story provides a fresh take on an era that has defined us as a nation. While there are no guns blazing, there is plenty of conflict that forces each character to re-examine his/her beliefs. It reminds us that those on the home front often waged their own battles through turbulent times.

As for the performance, most listeners will love the narrator's voice for Audrey. She sounds exactly like I would imagine a young woman from that era might have sounded. I did not care for the voice of Willard as it sounded a little too forced, which tended to distract me. However, this is purely a personal opinion and a very minor point.

Overall all this is a 5 star experience. Enjoy.

In full disclosure— While I did receive a free copy of this book, I was not obligated to complete a review and the opinions expressed are completely my own.



  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sweet Historical Fiction from an Uncertain Time

I received a free copy of this audible book to review.

This story has been on my TBR list for a very long time and I was thrilled when the audible version came available. The story is narrated beautifully!

Audrey and Willard are the central characters in their early adult (working) years in Nebraska when the Japanese strike Pearl Harbor and the US enters the war. The characters struggle with real emotions around enlisting or not, moving forward with life in uncertain times, and serving God and country from where you are. The resolution of Audrey and Willard’s story is sweet and leaves me wanting to hear Lanie’s story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love on the home front

With the backdrop of WWII as its historical anchor, this delightful story explores the shock and horror of Pearl Harbor, the loss that came with it, and the struggle off those left to serve from their comfortable homes rather than in the discomfort of the battle itself.

The shame and longing of both Audrey and Willard as they fought their own inner battles is well-written and expressed in the voice of the narrator. The characters are not flat or token. They feel with complexity the shifting tides of moving on with life despite the seemingly radical turn of events disrupting luthier normal. Great listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Jenny’s review

Audrey Stone enjoys teaching her 2nd grade class very much and her world gets brought up short when Pearl Harbor is bombed. She feels that she needs to do something to help the soldiers so when someone suggests setting up a canteen Audrey is all in. Then she meets local farmer Willard Johnson at a dance and Audrey and Willard are smitten with one another but they are split when Willard’s brother is killed in the war and he struggles with not being able to fight in the war himself. Willard wrestles with God as well as having trouble with his feelings for Audrey.

These two characters Willard and Audrey really struggle with God and themselves and I wanted to shake some sense into them. Good story! I liked it!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Canteen Dreams

Canteen Dreams is a sweet historical romance set during the World War II time period. I found it to be an enjoyable listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

light and sweet but predictable

This Pearl Harbor era story by Cara Putman captured the fear and uncertainty that came with news of the attack. It painted a good picture of the patriotism, enthusiasm, courage, and even jealousy of those on the home front. I found myself contemplating aspects of the war that I hadn’t thought as much about prior to listening to this book… so I felt like I learned from it.

Canteen Dreams was a sweet romance amid the turmoil of the war. While I found it predictable, this story was still enjoyable… although honestly, through most of the book I found myself wanting to slap Willard. He was kind of jerkish and self-absorbed.

If you want a war time story but still want a light book, this would be a good option. I’d compare it with whipped cream in a can… airy and sweet, and you know what you’re getting.

Laural Merlington did a good job with the recording – she struck me as sounding like a woman looking back at the war, telling the story.