Helllllo readers, hope you’re well! Since writing up my favourite historical fiction periods for a top ten Tuesday post I realised that there are lots of historical fiction books that I just haven’t got around to reading yet and I thought it was time to get them written up for you lovely people. I adore Dee Williams and her writing – she just has a way of creating emotion with the reader and making them fall in love with her characters wholly; but I’ll stop gushing. Without delay the review.
Even if she feels life is passing her by as she serves behind the counter in her father’s Rotherhithe grocer’s shop, Annie Rogers knows she is lucky to have a secure home and a loving family – unlike her friend Lil, whose father is a violent drunk. Knowing how hard Lil’s life is, Annie willingly helps her out, lending her dresses and make-up and, when Annie is asked out on a smart date by the landlord’s son Peter Barrett, suggesting Lil come along to make up a foursome.
But it is a shock when Lil gets on famously with Peter’s swanky friend Julian whilst Annie feels much less sure of the smooth Peter. Soon Lil is busy earning money from pub singing spots set up for her by Julian, and Annie, no longer needed by her friend, feels more isolated than ever. It is then that she notices shy Will Hobbs from Fisher’s engineering works. Before long Annie and Will are engaged, with plans for a home of their own in Surrey. But a dreadful accident at Fisher’s and the looming shadow of World War II mean that life for Annie of Albert Mews is not so predictable – or secure – as she once thought it was …
So as the blurb suggests the book follows the life of Annie Rodgers who currently works for her father in his grocery store – very close to her family and old beyond her years Annie is a family girl through and through. Supporting her best friend Lil, whose father is a violent drunk and trying to find her place in the world we follow Annie as she watches the world struggle against the pulls of WW2. But it’s not all doom and gloom – going on a date with the seemingly lovely Peter Barrett and taking Lil along, everything might work out okay. However, when Annie finds herself ditched by her friend she falls for the shy but delightful Will – but trouble is on the way.
I’ve spoken about the author Dee Williams over and over again but this is potentially my favourite of the books of the series. The writing style is lyrical and beautiful. It moves wonderfully detailing the struggles of the people at home as the war starts to wage closer and closer. The speech used and the descriptions of the struggles as the rationing becomes closer and the world starts to panic about the impending war I loved seeing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ tale that is woven. More often than not it is the back-stories about the war that I tend to enjoy more, rather than the action itself.
Character build up is perfection – Annie and Lil are chalk and cheese and their teetering friendship kept me on edge as a I continued through the book. Annie is sweet, loving but shy and a little retiring. Lil is big for your buck, in your face but she had a desperate and needy side that I thought came through against Annie. Looking at their backgrounds and the men they decide to keep in their lives and the differences between them too only added to the tale.
I guess the only wobble I can come up with is that it’s not an action tale, it’s a tale about family and that, as like the rest of the Dee Williams books is what makes me love them so much but they don’t have much of a plot – there’s no mystery, there is romance and there is a plot of get your teeth into but it’s soft. It’s about family.
Overall as like the rest of the Dee Williams books I adored this. It’s a beautiful tale of war love and family and it’s definitely worth a read.