Novelist. History Buff. Military Brat.

Beneath the Wild Blue


The story of the Stoddards, a shiny, spit-polished mid-century Air Force family
who plummets into free-fall after a tragic accident.


In the aftermath of World War II, Francine “Fritzi” Fontaine longs to escape the stifling heat and segregated society in her home town. When she falls for Second Lieutenant Joe Stoddard, a cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps, she also finds her ticket to see the world.

Fritzi and Joe get married and fly off into the wild blue yonder, where he becomes a test pilot and Fritzi the quintessential Air Force Wife. Along the way, Fritzi gives birth to four children—two girls and two boys—while Joe moves up in rank and pays his dues as a pilot and officer. 

For a few short years, the Stoddards are a shiny, adventurous American Air Force family, living wherever Joe’s career takes them and blooming wherever they are planted. 
When they are transferred to a base in Italy, the Stoddards revel in the opportunity to explore Europe together. During the fireworks of an Italian festival, tragedy strikes, plunging the family into a free-fall of denial and grief. 

How will they navigate a future none of them ever imagined?

Beneath the Wild Blue provides us with a stunning portrait of a family of six under the constant stress that is such a key element of military life . . . A picture of an average family caught in the vortex of the tornado that is military life . . . There is no way to truly describe how and why this experience is so unique, but Marian McCarthy has done a brilliant job.
— James Kenney
The scene showing how officer wife Fritzi takes the news about her pilot husband’s orders to Korea is one of the best I’ve ever read. It had me laughing out loud. It felt so real. It sounded authentic.
— R. Michael Brown
By the end, I felt like I really knew and cared about each colorful character of the Stoddard family. Bravo to Marian on her debut novel and I look forward to reading whatever she writes next!
— Susie Wellendorf
Each character is fully developed and distinct with the mother, Fritzler, a spunky, strong and readily identifiable military officer’s wife. For any military brat or anyone who wonders what service life is like for families, this book is a must.
— John G. Jaffe
I found myself captivated by the unique and compelling characters painted by Ms. McCarthy in Beneath the Wild Blue. The family, flawed but so lovable and understandable drew me into their life and I looked forward to my evening read.
— Joanne Fox Phillips