shortlisted for Book Of The Month
The Victory Sisters #2
"Her duty is to keep smiling through… When World War II breaks out, Suzanne’s dream of attending the Royal Academy of Music crumbles. Determined to do her bit, she joins a swing band that entertains troops in some of the worst-hit cities of Europe. Through singing, Suzanne finds a confidence she never knew she had, and she soon wins the admiration of Britain’s brave servicemen. But her heart already belongs to a Navy officer who is serving out at sea. The question is… will they meet again?"
I confess. I love Molly Green's novels, and there was an added poignancy to this particular one: the book blurb (above) also states: "A gripping tale of love, courage and camaraderie, perfect for fans of Nancy Revell, Donna Douglas and Vera Lynn." I started reading on the day the news announced that our beloved, and much honoured, Dame Vera Lynn passed away. So another confession: I shed a few tears as I read. I am slightly too young to remember Dame Vera during the war years, but I grew up with Mum singing along to the wireless (as we called it back then - and no that wasn't modern wi-fi - it was the radio!)
Ms Green has a knack of taking her readers out of the 'today' and placing them very firmly in the period she is writing about. Partly, this is because of her excellent writing ability to create realistic characters, events and situations, but also because her research is meticulous. The wartime conditions, and Suzanne’s discovery of her strength and courage, is expertly portrayed – a young, quiet girl who has her hopes and dreams taken from her, but finds other dreams and hopes to take their place. Along with the heartache and trauma of wartime love, of course. It was also a delight to meet Suzanne’s sister Raine, from the first book in the series, A Sister’s Courage.
This is not just a story about the war, and ENSA, of entertaining the troops and survival during difficult times, it is a story about people – fictional people, yes, but written so convincingly that I almost found myself wanting to search out their autobiographies. It is a story of friendships, of loyalty, of courage. It has laughter and tears, fears and bravery, and it has music and song. I defy anyone reading this not to be humming "We'll MeetAgain" or "White Cliffs Of Dover" as they read.
In short, an utterly marvellous book to read!
Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds
© Mary Chapple
paperback edition reviewed