"1915: Violet Dobson is horrified when husband Billy signs up to fight for King and Country. Billy is already her hero — she doesn’t need him to prove it. As Billy heads to France, Violet has her own battles to fight, living with Billy’s mam and dad.
To Violet’s surprise, teaching her young son Tommy to play football proves a pleasure rather than a chore, but when she’s invited to coach the women’s team at work Violet’s not so sure. In Billy’s mam’s opinion, nice women don’t play football and married women certainly don’t.
Caught between her mother-in-law’s old-fashioned views and her own love of the game, Violet is coming under growing pressure to play. The team is raising money for the military hospital. What if Billy was one of the wounded?
As Violet takes to the pitch, Private Billy Dobson faces the enemy on the Western Front. Their problems are only just beginning."
It was a pleasure to read this novel. The detail seemed to be well researched and the characters came easily and believably to life. It had not occurred to me that women played football during the Great War period - but of course they did! (And why not?) It seems such a great shame that even now in 2022 we are only just accepting that we girls can do as well as (maybe even better than?) the lads at these things. It has only taken one hundred years or so...
Reminiscent of Catherine Cookson, this book gives us a convincing period setting with a dragon of a mother-in-law and a put-upon wife and mother who is determined to not be bullied into submission. The football element provided a pleasant change from the usual WWI type story. My only (very, very slight) grumble is that I meet so many characters called 'Tommy' in this era of novels. Surely some boys had other names? Eddie, William, Ronald, George...?
I found myself rooting for Vi right from the start. No spoilers, so I'll not go into detail, but you do not need to be interested in football to enjoy this novel.
The music hall song quotes and the snippets from the newspapers at the start of each chapter were a nice, interesting touch.
It's a good story, simply written but engrossing.
Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds
© Mary Chapple