When war is declared, Mary North is sure she will be snapped up for something far more exciting than the role that she is assigned: that of a school teacher. The silver lining, however, comes in the form of Tom Shaw from the Education Authority, and more importantly, his friend Alistair Heath. Played out against the backdrop of the Blitz and at the front lines of Malta, this is a vividly drawn World War II story of privileged young Londoners proving their mettle.
Illuminating the racism and class structures of the time, this novel was inspired by the experiences of the author's grandparents.
Mixed reviews. Lots never managed to read complete book. Others found it hard to get into at the start, but once they got into it they loved it .
We loved this book. A riveting read. The reader becomes so much a part of the story.
Everyone enjoyed this book, well written. Real characters flawed and exceptional.
We loved this book - an engaging story with well drawn characters, the banter between them, typical of the day when unpleasant topics were never discussed directly, was very entertaining. This humour did not detract from the devastating effects of the war, each affected in some way, and the deprivations suffered in London and particularly, Malta, which was quite an education for us all. Hope to find some more of his books listed in the catalogue! Highly recommended.
Everyone spoke positively on this book. One member was a 9 year old in Holland during the war, and she felt the descriptions were very authentic. We also loved the often very funny dialogues between the different people.
Almost everyone enjoyed the book which was well written. The author gives you a real sense of each character without telling you things. The subject of the book is fascinating, and makes you think of what it was like in London during the Blitz for the people left behind - the men who did not join, the people who volunteered, and the black people who had to deal with terrible discrimination making the effects of the war worse.
A great read. Characters flawed and real. The stiff upper lip British way was evident. Three of our group were born in England, and the story was a help to them in understanding their parents.
We loved the book - many of us had read the book before, but enjoyed it even more the second time. Clever and witty - it gave us amazing insights into Malta and London during the war. Beautiful descriptions, fabulous characterisation and imagery.
This book was much enjoyed by all the members of the group. We had a very good discussion about the topic, the language, and how for some this was the best novel read about war, any war.
The majority of the group loved this book and its characters. Those who didn't like it couldn't get into the story and found it dull. The members who liked it found it interesting to see the war's effects on the different characters.
Loved this book, and had a great discussion.
Fulfilled all our expectations of a superbly written book. We were all swept through this fascinating read and drawn intimately into WWII, especially the Malta blockade, which we knew little about. Wonderful descriptions, no hyperbole. A great read and highly recommended.