a bowl of rice

A Bowl of Rice by Joan Leotta

A Blog for Writers: Women and Adversity, Anna Maria O’Shea in“A Bowl of Rice” by Joan Leotta

Women protagonists in novels face adversity the same as women in real life do, and I plan to feature several of them in this blog. Women readers can consider solutions to their own dilemmas from the ways fictional women solve their problems.

In “A Bowl of Rice,” the third book in Joan Leotta’s Legacy of Honor series, patriotism motivates Anna Maria O’Shea to enter a nursing program that requires her to serve 14 months in Vietnam. The book emphasizes the dedication Anna Maria has to her commitment and the challenges she faces because of her decision.

At the beginning of the book, Anna Maria’s boyfriend, Michael, plans to defect to Canada to avoid the draft and wants Anna Maria to go with him and marry him there. She shows conviction to her goals by not giving in to Michael’s demands, and he leaves without her. She lands in Vietnam and must adjust to the weather, the grueling hours and the devastating results of war.  Her compassion for the soldiers is intense, and the way Leotta develops the plot, forces the reader to understand that the military in a war zone are in constant severe danger.

When Anna Maria and her nurse friend Kathy Holman, have their first day off, they take a helicopter to the beach. Also on the helicopter are two doctors, one of whom is Captain Mark Datallio. Anna Maria is not just impressed with him, she’s smitten. Conflicts arise, human frailty intervenes and challenges present themselves to her. She sticks to her principles and is able to resolve her conflicts.

Leotta’s presentation of the attitude of the people in the U.S. during the Vietnam era and the conditions in the U.S. while the war in Vietnam was surging give a picture of what really happened. The situations the U.S. military had to face in Vietnam and the circumstances of the Vietnamese people are also realistic.

The other two books in Leotta’s Legacy of Honor series are “Giulia Goes to War,” covering Giulia De
Bartolo’s commitment to aiding in the war effort during World War II, and “Letters from Korea,”  in which Gina DeBartolo anticipates the letters from Sgt. Sal Leonardi.

Leotta’s books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and desertbreezepublishing.com. She can be reached at joanleotta.wordpress.com.






Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I’ve been a professional freelance writer for several years and specialize in writing feature stories. I have more than a 1,000 bylines to my credit and have written on countless topics from autism to zoology. My columns on fashion and the Internet appeared in a Chicago area newspaper in the 90s. “Brunswick Buzz,” the column in The Sun News, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. daily, ran for seven years then “Events on the North Strand” took over in October 2013, also in The Sun News.

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