Dee Yates returns to the blog with a story of returning home after the war, and fitting into a place that you left without a second glance in
Home to the Hills
Ellen left the Scottish Highlands after the first war and her husband’s death – the war had changed him, and she had developed feelings for a German POW who was posted near the farm she lived at to build a reservoir. Taking her daughters, she fled to Germany to be with Josef, a German Jew that she never forgot. While her daughter Netta doesn’t really remember her biological father, she’s determined to help her mother through the next big change in their lives: returning to the Scottish Highlands where she was born and her mother grew up. Fiercely protective, independent and forthright, Netta is determined to make a home for her mother in the area she is most comfortable, and she isn’t afraid of work. While Ellen’s father (and Nettas’ grandfather) had died a few years back, her stepmother was still in the little village, and more than happy to see them both.
But not all of the townsfolk are as welcoming: Ellen’s past ‘consorting” with the Germans, and Netta’s unwillingness to ‘back down’ when faced with prejudices keep her very prickly and shut off – even as she has drawn the notice of the assistant shepherd on the farm, Andrew, and is quickly becoming a solid member of the small farm “family”. Quickly we are provided bits of information about Netta’s life in Germany, why Ellen left Scotland, and the connections and losses that bind the two. Alternating with their story is one of two children brought from Germany to England via the Kindertransport, and the Quaker couple that took them in, providing love, stability and opportunity for them both. With the hardships of life during the war contrasting with current struggles and triumphs, the inclusion of a quite active Quaker community that built a school with a small farm, to the ups and downs of Netta’s relationship with Andrew and her mother’s finding hope and happiness at the farm – the story keeps readers intrigued and understanding the challenges as well as the joys of life.
Starting a bit fragmented from what I’ve come to expect from a story from this author, we’re quickly brought up to speed with the main characters who will influence the story’s direction and focus: from Ellen and Netta to the weather and struggles with the sheep: to the story of Freda and her adoptive parents, her ‘brother’ and his own life being brought full circle – there is plenty to love about this story and it makes the perfect getaway to hide in the Highlands on a farm known for sheep…..
Title: Home to the Hills
Author: Dee Yates
Genre: Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Historic Elements, Historic Woman's Fiction, Post World War II, Romantic Elements, Scottish, Second Chance, Setting: Scotland, Small Town
Published by: Aria
Published on: 19 March, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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After the Second World War, Ellen and her daughter Netta make the journey from Germany back to Scotland. Nestled in the hills is the farm where Ellen grew up. She hasn't been back in twenty-six years, after leaving her home to be with the only man she's ever loved. She is still haunted by her memories... and the secrets she dare not share with anyone.
Settling into her new life, Netta offers to help the new shepherd, Andrew Cameron. Like her mother, Netta has loved and lost. As much as she can't deny the sparks that fly between her and Andrew, she isn't ready to open her heart to anything new...
The war took so much from Ellen and Netta. Could the sanctuary of the hills offer them a chance to find peace?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.