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Family Drama / WWII
1918 - 1950s
Most stories about the horrors of war deal with the participants – soldiers, nurses, sailors, airmen etc. But Walking Wounded looks at the women who are left behind to wait, worry and hope.
After a brief background introducing us the family concerned, we follow the lives of Lydia, May and Millie, the latter married to the sisters' brother. Lydia is the eldest and finds herself unexpectedly in the matriarchal role, one which she accepts, however reluctantly, as her lot. May is married to Jimmy, an exciting yet violent man and their sister-in-law Millie to May's slightly older twin, Charlie.
At the outbreak of World War II, Reggie, Bert (the other two brothers) Charlie and Jimmy all volunteer and are sent to various theatres of war, leaving the women to fend for themselves: Lydia to run the family shop, May to pursue her career as a seamstress while Millie is a barmaid. Their adventures – if adventures they be - take us through the terror of nightly air raids and, in May's case, temporary evacuation as she is pregnant.
I was born in Muswell Hill – the main setting for the book – and I have a couple of very minor quibbles about one or two of the facts about the area, but in comparison to the overall effect and feel of the book, these are negligible. It is well written, very atmospheric and emotional and my only disappointment was that it was too short – so much more could have been of the characters, good as they were.
A powerful tribute to those who had no choice but to stay, often with no news good or bad. And I guarantee you one thing: tears will flow.
© Richard Tearle