Sunfire Romance Novels
In the 80s, the world was lit by Sunfire!

Veronica Quick Notes

Sunfire #18, by Jane Claypool Miner, is Veronica. The preview in the back of Sabrina said: Coming next from Sunfire: VERONICA, who lived through the bombs of Pearl Harbor to find strength and love.

You may notice something…odd…about my book’s cover. More on that later.

Veronica Front Cover (Credit: Joel Iskowitz)

Front Cover Blurb: World War II threatens to destroy her home and her first chance for love.

Back Cover Blurb: Her heart is filled with love for a man she may never see again.

Main Character: Veronica Louise Stewart, called “Ronnie” by her father and boyfriend Mike, and “Sunny” by Phillip. She is 16 with strawberry-blonde hair and brown eyes. She lives in Honolulu with her parents; her father is a captain in the Navy. She wants to enjoy being a senior in high school and not be serious with any boy until she’s ready. (Ah, the modern girl!)

Suitor #1: Seaman Phillip Easterwood, 18; blond, blue eyes. He is stationed aboard the battleship Arizona. He meets Veronica shortly before Thanksgiving 1941 and wants her to commit to him immediately.

Suitor #2: Mike Kokohuilano, 17, brown hair, brown eyes. Mike is mostly native Hawaiian, although he’s also part Chinese, French, and Portuguese. He is the president of the high school’s student body and has been casually dating Veronica for a while, although we find out later that he’s been planning to marry her since they were children.

Setting: Pearl Harbor, November 1941 through June 1942.

On the Cover: In the center, Veronica. Okay, now for my confession about the cover. It drove me nuts when I was a kid that Veronica is clearly described as having brown eyes, but Iskowitz illustrated her with blue eyes.

Veronica Original Cover Illustration

Now please keep in mind that I am NOT in the habit of defacing my books in any way, I usually don’t even write my name in them. But in this rare exception…I took a sharpie and colored Veronica’s eyes brown, on the front and back. I am not even kidding. Someday I’m going to have to pick up a copy of Veronica that hasn’t been “fixed.”

To the right of Veronica is Phillip, looking jolly but arrogant. To the left is Mike in his Hawaiian shirt looking laid back. Lower left, Veronica kissing Phillip; lower right, Toshi and Veronica in what is maybe supposed to be the ambulance? But Toshi shouldn’t be driving. The smoke from Pearl Harbor surrounds them, and you can see a ship burning in the lower left corner.

Veronica Back Cover

I hadn’t reread this book for many years, certainly not since 9/11, and the similarities are striking: a sneak attack on a beautiful day, followed by destruction, confusion, and regular people becoming heroes. Everyone lines up at the blood bank and runs for cover when military aircraft fly over. Veronica and Mike both do heroic things even though they’re only kids.

I think this book suffers from the shortened format. The Pearl Harbor bit is great, but you want the story to just keep going past the Battle of Midway. There was SO much more history there to learn about, but as a short piece focused on one event, it’s great. There’s also a lot of focus on the treatment of Japanese Americans, including the internment camps. NOT America’s finest hour.

i feel like there’s not enough time to really show the development of the relationships Veronica has with the two guys. She’s known Mike forever, but we don’t get to really see her taking him seriously until the last few pages. Phillip…let’s not even talk about Phillip. I don’t care: what he did to Veronica and his own godparents was unforgivable.

This book has the strangest ending of all the Sunfires.I think it’s completely appropriate, but not really fulfilling. The book leaves you to hope everything turned out for the best…and I want to believe that was the case for Veronica and her chosen suitor.

Tune in next time, when you’ll hear Nicole say: “Why didn’t you take me to that wild party in steerage? I heard some chick was standing on her toenails and everything! Hey, isn’t there room for two on that floating door?”


2 Responses to “Veronica Quick Notes”

  1. Ha! I defaced one of these books too: the cover of Elizabeth. I hated the way they drew her hair, so I added more black curls over the original hair. It’s much more abrasive to look at than your adjustment to Veronica’s eyes. The illustrators sometimes drove me nuts with their late 70’s early 80’s feathered hair blowing in the wind….

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