See how the cover says gritty and heartbreaking? Well, it was not gritty, and it was not heartbreaking, but if you are waiting anxiously for the next Call The Midwife, this ramble on tea-dying lace and Spam sandwiches and rationed throat sweets might fill the gap.
Good characters stay good and in love and getting along with their family members. Evil characters are constantly scheming. This is a world of happy marriages and gleeful pregnancy announcements, where local bands and dressmaking shops and gardens are all successful. The happiness is marred only by an evil woman who sets her sights on a married man (Love is strange, I guess, but I wasn’t able to tell why she picked him in particular, and held a torch for years), and a selfish factory owner putting everyone out of a job. The only hints of moral complexity is found in a factory manager who agrees to property destruction and insurance fraud in order to support his family when the factory closes.
I actually really liked the scenes of daily life, although I couldn’t find anything even a little bit heartbreaking the book. Tragedy is often so heavily foreshadowed that it’s almost a relief when it happens. Go on and hurry up with that tragic death and random insanity, so we can get back to who said what to whom in the queue outside the dance, ok?
Pretty much nothing happens in this book (In a good way! I liked reading about planning a wedding under postwar rationing, but it’s not exactly suspenseful wondering if they’ll be enough sugar for the cake), until the end when a couple massive cliffhangers are introduced, because apparently this is the start of a trilogy. I’m planning to read the next one, but I won’t go in looking for “gritty and heartbreaking” next time.