- "I'm looking forward to Christmas, but worried about the fact that the war isn't nearing the end. Will seemed so sure that he'd be home for Christmas. And I haven't even gone yet. They must think there is still a lot of warring to do if they still want me to train and go over there."
- —Simone Spencer
When Christmas Comes Again: The World War I Diary of Simone Spencer is the thirtieth book in the Dear America serie. It was written by Beth Seidel Levine and published in November 2002. The book was followed by Land of the Buffalo Bones in April 2003.
- "For giving me the best of everything, for laughing the only way anyone should, for letting me catch some of her spirit and all of her love, this book is for my mother, Gail Seidel Levine."
- "December 25, 1917
Christmas! Father and Maman gave me the gift of my army uniform. So I tried it on immediately and modeled for everyone. When I made my final turn, I saw Sally standing in the doorway of the parlor with tears in her eyes. The tray of brandies she was holding started to rattle. Maman hurried over to her and took the tray. Sally sat with us and the room got quiet. "First William, and now Simone," she said. The air was so heavy that I thought I might cry, too. But Maman didn't miss a step. She passed around the brandies and raised her glass. "When Christmas comes again, we shall all be together... and the world will be a safer place."
Simone Spencer leads a charmed life in New York City, when America enters the Great War in 1917. Her older brother, Will enlists in the army and ships out in June. Meanwhile, Simone wishes to make herself useful after graduating from high school. She decides to go to nursing school, but her father, a physician, asks her to volunteer at his hospital first. She volunteers in a special ward dedicated to wounded soldiers. There she helps a patient, Thomas Brennan by patiently waiting for him to talk for a month.
Later, Simone learns of the need for bilingual switchboard operators in the army's Signal Corps. Her parents take the news calmly since they trust her decisions. On Christmas, Simone receives her uniform and proudly models it for her family and friends. She spends the next several weeks training for her job. In March 1918, her best friend Francie Walker gifts her a Christmas angel, before she boards the ship to the Western Front. On the way, Simone becomes friends with Alice Kealy. They later tour Paris, where Simone's mother grew up.
Alice and Simone are stationed together in Chaumont. A couple of months later, she is reunited with her brother at a dance. He introduces his friend, Sam Cates, to her. She falls for him quick, spending the rest of the night talking to him. Simone later gives him her Christmas angel, before he and Will head to the front lines. She and Alice are then sent to Neufchâteau. A month later, Alice becomes sick with influenza and dies within a few days. Simone has little time to grieve properly. Soon after, she is called closer to the battlefront.
After plugging away for two more months, the war is officially over on November 11, 1918. Simone helps out in Paris, hoping to see Sam and Will. In mid-December, she finds Will in New York City. He tells her that Sam has died, but she does not believe him. Simone volunteers at the hospital and starts to consider a career in physical therapy. There she finds a wounded Sam, who did not contact her because of his loss limb. On Christmas, Simone's father arranges for Sam to spend a few hours with them at their house. He returns her angel, which she places on the tree.
- Main article: List of When Christmas Comes Again characters
- Simone Spencer is the seventeen-year-old protagonist. She leaves her privileged life in New York City to become a "Hello Girl" on the Western Front.
- William "Will" Spencer, Simone's married older brother. He volunteers for the army as soon as America joins the war. He is stationed in France where he befriends Sam Cates.
- Alice Kealy is Simone's new friend and fellow "Hello Girl". They first meet on the way over to Europe and quickly become inseparable.
- Main article: Beth Seidel Levine
Beth Seidel Levine is the author of When Christmas Comes Again, her first and only novel. Prior to writing for Dear America, Levine was an editor for the series. Her love of New York City was an inspiration for the book. She chose to set it during 1917 since it was a time "the city was in transition", and "World War I provided a dramatic background".
- ↑ https://www.amazon.com/When-Christmas-Comes-Again-Spencer/dp/0439439825/
- ↑ When Christmas Comes Again, Beth Seidel Levine, page 52