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Story Chat Summary: “Brooching the Subject” by Doug Jacquier

With 86 recent views, 33 likes, and 98 comments, Doug Jacquier’s story, Brooching the Subject continues to make Story Chat an engaging success. One of the things that makes Story Chat so fun is the interplay between the author and the readers. Speculation, teasing, questioning, suggestions. This is what you can’t do when you read a book.

Be sure to read Doug’s post and the complete and fabulous dialogue that took place at Story Chat this month.

Attendance This Month

  1. Doug Jacquier author ” It’s always a thrill as a writer to feel you have communicated what you are trying to say.”
  2. Enchanted Seashells “My eyes caught the word “brooch” in the title thinking this was going to be about things to pin on our clothing.”
  3. Janis@Retirementally Challenged “I love this story! So well-written and engaging. Even thought the “reveal” wasn’t too surprising (after all, she had one of the broches), the way it was written led the reader so satisfyingly to the conclusion. Well done… I hope to read more stories from you.”
  4. Gary A Wilson “I also love that a story told in first person opens the door to an imperfect, non-omniscient or even dishonest story teller, all stuff an omniscient narrator can’t get away with.So this story really pulled me in, and felt very much like mum wanted to get this history off her chest and have someone she knows and trusts to carry it further. … “Oh, we were never wrong.” was strikingly audacious. Really? I liked how mum mentioned that the investigators were uninvolved with the “case” themselves but still – wow! … The likely ending was easy to guess earlier and still was a very satisfying wrap-up to a great story. Bravo Doug”
  5. At Sunnyside “The story hooked me from the first sentence. Beautiful job!”
  6. SheetalBravon “Gripping story all the way ! Quite like the narrator, expected a lost love or something in those lines but was surprised by the twist. The ending especially was excellent.”
  7. Wind Kisses “This was fantastic! Could certainly be true, and I do believe I will keep my eye out for a brooch. Wink. But in a real world thank goodness we understand more about PTSD and it is possible for them to get help. I think the mother would have felt pretty relieved as a chance to come clean with what she felt was right…and wrong. Wow. Captive audience here.”
  8. Yvette Prior “I am so glad that I read this historical fiction based on a true story. Jacquier really let us feel the body changes and emotions with the grandmother and shares about the secret connecting to the brooch. It reminded me that the aftermath of war is long-reaching and I hope those coming back from recent wars get the help they need. Enjoyed this story very much.”
  9. TanGental “Now this is such a readable piece. Unlike some, I thought it clear mum was a WW2 survivor esp the later reference to returning forces from the middle east hinted at Iraq. And the idea of those who were damaged reflecting that damage on others’ lives is eminently possible. This could be fact, fiction or a BOTS so well written is it. I’m not sure we are much good at helping our vets, at least not as good as we should be. Working with homeless charities over the last dozen or so years has brought home how many vets end up homeless often following a term in prison… they start young, get institutionalised in the forces and then after their 12 years or whatever are pushed back into a society they neither know nor really understand; we are getting better but a lot of lives have been harmed by the lack of a proper transition. … Mental health is so hard to spot, acknowledge and help with. We do it terribly here, frankly, even if youre not homeless. But it is gradually being given levels of support it deserves.”
  10. Hugh Roberts “I couldn’t help but sense a sci-fi element in this short story. It was probably the word ‘Network’, yet when I read the story a second time, I wasn’t sure if there was a sci-fi element, and it was more a frightening underground drama. I saw it as the complete opposite to the movie ‘The Stepford Wives.’ The story certainly had me thinking there was some kind of conspiracy in the background, which led me back to an element of sci-fi. It was like people taking action because a government wasn’t willing to help those who had fought for them.”
  11. D. Avery@ShiftnShake “Great story Doug. I thought it was pretty clear that she was sharing the story to pass on the idea and the possible help from the network should it be necessary to the narrator. For wars continue and domestic issues due to war damage continue. And the hint of how dad died… nicely done. The brooch is truly a family heirloom. The narrator has been inducted into the network and given a bit of family history.”
  12. Cathy Cade “I enjoyed the story. I’ve often wondered about the lack of acceptance of the existence of PTSD following both World Wars. Or perhaps I mean the lack of publicity for it. It must have been widespread. and I like the idea of a women’s network dealing with the extreme damage caused. Women suffered in a different way from the men in the forces – from loss of loved ones, separation from evecuated children during the blitz, return of damaged loved ones post war and loss of newly -found independence. a whole generation of women never married (or remarried) because there weren’t enough men to go around. So I felt that Doug’s story was a well-spotted theme and beautifully conveyed.”

99-Word Summary – No More No Less

While sorting and packing jewelry in preparation for a mother’s move to a care facility, one particular red broach dredged up memories that had never been shared. Gnawing at her lip, the mother unfolded a secret community drama in which she held a key role. After World War II, returning soldiers did not all adapt well to civilian life. Neither the government nor other charities provided support for the families who suffered. A small network of women investigated these soldiers and worked out their own solutions to make life more bearable for the wives and children abused by them.

Theme: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  1. “Indeed attitudes to PTSD have changed considerably and those that seek counselling can receive help but there are many who don’t and therein lies the rub.” Doug Jacquier
  2. “At the time of WWII, women had nowhere to go to escape, no income to survive on and precious little support from society in general. It is difficult for young people now to know what the pejorative label ‘single mother’ meant back then but they certainly know that the impact of domestic violence in all its forms still exists today.” Doug Jacquier
  3. “I am reading a book called Regeneration by Pat Barker. It’s about a British military psychologist during World War I.” Marsha Ingrao
  4. “I am always amazed at how much we have to go back to WWI to understand WWII.” Yvette Prior

Chatter’s Questions

  1. “I’m intrigued by mum’s motivation to reveal this secret. Why did she feel the need to unburden herself? Maybe it’s a religious thing, this urge to confess before meeting one’s maker. Maybe she just felt tired of carrying such a burden. Maybe it was so long ago that, the memory was triggered by seeing the brooch, it didn’t seem worth holding on to it anymore.” TanGental
  2. “Those authors participating in (Story Chat) can see all the different channels readers go down when they’ve read your story. It has certainly helped me with my writing and the way I go when writing other stories.” Hugh Roberts
  3. “Good point, Hugh, I’m just not sure how to go about using it.” Doug Jacquier

The Take-Away

  • Everyone enjoyed the story, especially the ending twist.
  • Nobody judged the past with current eyes., which was my concern.
  • The problem of PTSD remains an unsolved issue in society today.

If you missed Doug”s thought-provoking story, Brooching the Subject,” you will definitely want to give it a read.

Coming Up Next Month

“On the Streets” by Cathy Cade. If you want to write an original short story for Story Chat, write a comment, or use my contact page to reach me. I’d love to hear from you.

8 replies »

    • I don’t know about that, Geoff. The Story Chat event wouldn’t happen without all of you and your stories. I delight and marvel in reading the twists and turns in all your stories. I love all the chatter and I’ve always been better at summarizing what’s already there.


  1. Thank you once again, Marsha, for the privileged opportunity to reach more readers and for your wonderful summing up. Thank you to all who took the time to read my story and leave such insightful comments and extrapolations. Truly a gift from you all.

    Liked by 3 people




Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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