The waiting is almost over.

While children start the new school year, the rest of us can step back in time – 1943 to be exact.

Bea Meade is about to be introduced to Orange.

Who’s Bea Meade? She’s the heroine in Sylvia Dickey Smith’s newest book, “A War of Her Own.”

Although the official launch date is Sept. 2, Smith will be in town next week to promote her latest offering to the public.

Orange embraced Sidra Smart, the gutsy, learning on the fly private eye in Smith’s first three books, “Dance on his Grave,” “Deadly Sins Deadly Secrets” and “Dead Wreckoning.”

Smith also reminded Orange of its Cajun, country heritage with a cookbook, “Sassy Southern Classy Cajun.”

Now Smith has written her first historical novel set in the Orange shipbuilding industry during World War II. Orange boomed during the war, growing from 7,500 to more than 65,00 almost overnight; faster than shelters and supplies could keep up.

Bea was not necessarily happy, but was content, living in Riverside with her husband, Hal and her infant son, Percy. Her world fell apart when her husband said he was leaving her for another woman, who was with child.

With encouragement from her friends and older sister Edith, she ventured forth and joined the many women that stepped into a man’s world during the war, building ships for the military.
It gave her a freedom and strength she had no idea she possessed. Starting as a material handler, she was later promoted to riveter. With each step forward she continued to build her confidence and rebuild her life.

“A War of Her Own” is a look back at life in another era in Orange. Smith’s characters are strong and well-developed. The story will keep the reader engaged. It is by far, Smith’s best work yet. 

Smith will be at the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce office on Green Ave. at 4 p.m, Wednesday, Aug. 25, THe Port Arthur Public Library at 9 a.m. for a reading Friday, Bayou Trading Co. from 3-6 p.m., Friday for the official launch and book-signing, at 1170 Texas Ave. in Bridge City. On Saturday, Aug. 28 Smith will be at Farmers’ Mercantile 9-11 a.m. on w Division Ave. and Barnes & Noble in Beaumont, 1-3 p.m.

Books can be ordered online at, and signed copies can be ordered at

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.