Told in two time lines, the 1940s and 1999, this story evolves as Edi, a soon to be divorced woman, rents an apartment in London and encounters Pearl, an author. Curious to learn about the gregarious Pearl, and her books, Edi purchases one of her books whose setting is in that very same building Edi currently lives in. Curious about what just might be in the attic, Edi finds some things that piques her attention, and starts Edi on a journey into the past inside the pages of Pearl’s book.
There is a rich history in many families coming across generations who had relatives who fought in World War 2. If their stories are shared, we begin to understand the sacrifices, the bravery, and the true grit and stamina, so many displayed.
In this story, we meet Ruby, an upper class British young woman who had lots of opportunities to see the world, she possesses a quick witty tongue and is not afraid to speak her mind. She owns a building where tenants live and being a bit on the bossy and friendly side, she is drawn to the people living there.
Challenged by one of her tenants, a conscientious objector, named Joseph, she enlists herself into the ambulance corps rescuing people fallen by the Blitz bombing, side by side with Joseph. They develop a relationship of sorts, each one learning important lessons from one another. Amid the gruesomeness of war, they find a common bond, each endeavoring to help their fellow man.
Also living in the building is another couple, where the husband is off to war, but when he comes home for leave, he brutalizes his wife, Kitty. Along the way, Ruby encourages Kitty to embrace the care and devotion of another man, the local butcher, and forget about her abusive husband. As Kitty does, and as feelings develop between Ruby and Joseph, we find both tension and danger lurking and learn not all enemies are those we are fighting against, but there often exists others that are home grown.
This was an interesting story that made me ponder and realize the contributions that conscientious objectors often made to the war effort, being of the mind that they would never kill another. What people endured during this time is both amazing and affirms the strength particularly that of the British populace during the Blitzkrieg of their homeland.
I recommend this story to those who enjoy the drama of the war mixed in with bits of history and family tales. It was definitely a different take on the war and the mingling of the past and present.
and here’s the author:
Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum, DatingAdvice.com, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival.