Her father would have likely been in his forties during WWI and not a combatant or direct participant. Can't be said of any brothers she might have had. If these people had been French though . . .
It would interest me what the tilte of the novel was that meant so much to this woman.
I posted this on my Face Book Wall yesterday:
Unfortunately, I lost the book in storage, along with thousands of other books, during the black hole in my life known as 1994. The book itself was of no particular interest -- it was one of those stories written for young women in the early 20th century -- so I suspect the woman (I think her name was Clara) valued it so highly because of the connection to her father. This is pure speculation, but given that the first entry was made in 1911, I sometimes wondered if her father might have been killed in WWI. There was no hint of anything like this, however. All the entries were short and straightforward, as I reported them in my piece. So why did she keep this record? For whom was it written? These are among the mysteries that make this story so fascinating to me. I have some plausible hunches, but that is all they are. There were no other notations or marks of any kind elsewhere else in the book.
Your story is better without the title for the title would weaken the universality of it by the detraction, especially for the literalists who would go to Amazon and order copies even trying to find your lost one. (Okay, that last was too much.)
Maybe just a different title - say, Second Hand (george's being the second hand to open the book, the second hand on a clock etc)