I do love a wartime saga, and I didn’t realise this was to be one, until I had finished and discovered that there are going to be more. In the meantime, in this first book we get to find out about the three main female characters.
Alice along with her retired doctor father has moved to Churchwood. Alice has had an accident and use of her hand is challenging, but she knows she must make an effort and do something. She finds solace in sharing her love of books, stories and reading by visiting the local hospital full of injured servicemen and reading to them or exchanging books. If this is what she can do to help the war effort she will make her small difference.
Naomi is a prominent figure in Churchwood. She is on all the committees, has followers who will do her bidding and she is the one that even the local Vicar defers to. However, Naomi is not happy and her forthright opinions can hurt people and she suddenly finds she is very lonely. She envies Alice’s youth and ability to be friend everyone regardless of status or class. Perhaps Naomi can learn from Alice?
Kate, the only female in the disliked Fletcher family is one such person that Alice befriends and Naomi distrusts. Kate works hard and is not afraid of it, but she has to put up with wearing her brothers cast off clothes and the abuse she gets from her own father. Alice gives her an outlet, books and reading, the beginnings of a friendship form and perhaps Churchwood will come to accept Kate as one of their own.
Told from the three main character’s points of view, this shows the difficulties that all women face when starting friendships, no matter how old they are. It is the start of the Second World War and that is the common ground which brings these three women and the rest of Churchwood together. The idea of sharing the love of books, reading and stories to anyone who needs that comfort is wonderful and still so relevant today. Through all of this is friendship, community and a bit of romance and the supporting characters were just as delightful to, especially keeping Naomi in her place!
A great start to series and I look forward to being back there soon and seeing what has been happening at the bookshop.
Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
The Wartime Bookshop is out now.