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My mother in law has always been a big fan of wartime books, with me enjoying them to a certain degree, though I do now have a towering pile of them to get through I am enjoying them a little less!
This particular book is called “Keep smiling through” by Lilian Harry, an author who I have read before, and enjoyed too, so I had reasonably high hopes for this particular offering.
It is May 1941, and the people living in April Grove Portsmouth are beginning to feel that the war will never end, whole families have been separated, even torn apart, with the few remaining men starting to fear for their futures as the main breadwinner and master of their domains due to the women of the houses having to take on so-called men’s positions to keep their worlds turning!
Betty knows she will face certain conflicts at home as she falls deeply in love with a “conchie” (someone who refuses to fight in the war), especially since her father is now at home suffering with what we now know as “post traumatic syndrome”.
Micky is one of a very few children not to have been evacuated when war started, and after seeing two of his best buddies being blown up, he decides that he must take matters into his own hands, and starts his own home guard, though unwittingly nearly brings tragedy to them all.
I have o say he synopsis sounds much better than the actual book was, I only managed to read around half of it before I realised that actually I didn’t really know who half the characters were and how they were related to each other, let alone care if they survived another night of intense bombing by the Germans.
There was a small thread of a story that I did find readable, with this being f a young girl, exposed to the new world of service men pouring into Portsmouth before being shipped out to the conflict, and how she (like many others at that time) became a statistic, getting pregnant but persuading her (almost as young) hapless boyfriend to run away with her and not go out to sea to fight, though even this couldn’t make me read anymore of the book than I did!
I was incredibly disappointed with this book, and am sorry to say wouldn’t recommend it to anyone!