Betty Walker comes to the blog with the first in her new series set during World War II in Cornwall. Please read on for my review of
Wartime with the Cornish Girls
Told from three major perspectives and focused on the changes that were necessitated by the bombings, war and struggles to survive, this tale is eminently readable and enjoyable, despite the often-horrible circumstances and personal tragedies. Starting with Violet in London’s East End, she’s just lost her sister to the bombings, and has been working with her mother in a small café to keep the family afloat. Her two young nieces are living (and grieving) with them, and to add to the complexity of their situation, their father is listed as MIA, after having signed on to the war effort at the beginning. His German heritage and name have made him an object of suspicion in the neighborhood, with taunts and dangers around every corner – even though all his family knows the tales are wholly fabricated. With an aunt in Cornwall, Violet makes the tough decision to take the girls to the little village for a break from the war- to ensure their safety and perhaps find a new opportunity.
Meanwhile in Cornwall, Hazel and her teen son Charlie are struggling to make ends meet, with the in and out return of her ne’er do well husband. Abusive and an object of scorn in the little village of Porthcurno, she’s applied for a job at the local “big house”, now a military installation who’s civilian employees are managed by a former flame, George. Taking on the job of a kitchen helper, Hazel is torn between her duty to her husband and the newly ignited flame and fond memories of her time with George. Managing a teen boy who is acting out and smarting-off, combined with the dread of her husband’s return – his enlistment only adds a bit more worry to her plate – even as she is relieved to have him out of the way.
Lastly there is Eva, daughter of the Commander of the military installation in Cornwall, she’s been living with an uncle until recently, when she disappeared only to emerge in London as a dancer in the theater. A bit headstrong and more mature than she should be – the appearance of a pilot who has left notes and charmed her brings her to near death in a bombing raid, and soon she is shunted off to Cornwall, having to deal with her ‘troublemaker’ past and her father’s rather low expectations of her ability to follow orders and stay out of trouble.
The story integrates the three as they struggle, meet one another, form friendships and learn that together they are capable of more than anyone expected, even dealing with loss, tragedy, new life and new hope. A lovely introduction to both the war effort, people on the homefront facing deprivations, changes and fear, and the great power that is hope, duty and determination in the face of adverse conditions and the unknown. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see where it leads.
Title: Wartime with the Cornish Girls
Author: Betty Walker
Series: The Cornish Girls #1
Genre: British, Dark-theme, Dual Narration, Family Saga, Food / Recipes, Friendship, Grief, Historic Elements, Historic Woman's Fiction, Humor elements, Mystery Elements, Political commentary, Recipes, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain, Small Town, Suspense Elements, Woman's Fiction, World War II
Published by: Avon Books UK, One More Chapter
Published on: 29 April, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 40 minutes
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1941. The Blitz rages over London.
And even in Cornwall, the war is being fought…
When Violet loses her sister in the Blitz, she must take her nieces to safety in Cornwall. On the coast, she meets carefree chorus girl Eva, who is also running from the dangers of London.
But Porthcurno hides a secret military base, and soon Violet and Eva realise there’s a battle to fight in Cornwall, too.
Together with local Hazel, who works on the base, they must come together to help the war effort. But will their friendship be enough to keep them safe?
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.