Books

After the War is Over – Maureen Lee

Maggie, Nell and Iris have all helped do their bit during the war; they were all in the Army. Now returning to civilian life they face many different challenges as they try and adapt to a world recovering from war.

Maggie and Nell both live within streets of each other in Liverpool. One has dreamt about going to London and seeking the bright lights and fun life that her Liverpool home seems to be missing. The other, wants nothing but to stay within comfort of the family home and be part of her true family once again. Iris wants simply a baby, having lost one before the war, she is now desperate to fulfil this need, but it is not as simple as that.

All the great plans that these three young women had when they returned to Liverpool have all changed. Their friendship remains rather a constant and it goes through cycles as Iris and Nell begin to get on better as they find that Nell has a skill that Iris is lacking in and builds it into a business. Maggie is jealous, until events change her life and she finds herself in a very different position than the one she imagined and that perhaps being away from friends makes friendship stronger. But all three women are hiding something from each other and it is only as the years past and events take place that the truth is finally told, long after the war is over.

This is the latest novel from Maureen Lee and is by far for me one her best in recent years. It is the complete saga that Maureen Lee does very well. The book flows from the end of 1945 through to the 1970s and rather than throwing in current affairs and well known events to just simply pad the book out, it uses them to move the characters along successfully in the plot. For example the bad winter of 1947, is a catalyst for Iris and Nell’s friendship. Good strong characters allows the reader to follow their lives through joy and tragedy which the author does so effectively and shows her excellent skill at this in this book.

This is a good example of Maureen Lee’s work and one I highly recommend for anyone who wants to try out her work. I look forward to her next. 

I do not think a year goes by when I do not read a Maureen Lee and in fact in 2012 I read three! I am all caught up again now and will have to wait until her new one comes out in paperback. 

This book is a return to some of Maureen Lee’s earlier novels where she shows how wonderfully hard and testing friendship and families can be but that always the right thing will happen in the end, even if it means lots of upset on the way. It made a refreshing change to have the women returning from what they had done in the war and adjusting again than it did the men. 

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