Review: Wartime Girls by Anne Baker

Monday, 25 May 2015
Title: Wartime Girls
Author: Anne Baker
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 9th April 2015
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9781472212269
Source: bookbridgr
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
It is the day of the Grand National, 1933, when Susie Ingram's fiance, Danny, is killed in a tragic accident. In a cruel twist of Fate, Susie discovers she is carrying Danny's child and, shunned by his parents, she turns to her mother for support. Louise Ingram, widowed during the First World War, knows how hard it is to bring up a family alone, but with the help of her eldest daughter, Martha, who lives next door, they manage to survive. When little Rosie is born there is no doubt that she is Danny's daughter, but it is destined to take many more years of heartache before the two families are united again...

Wartime Girls is Anne Baker's 33rd novel which is quite remarkable, I have read a few of them over the years and as is usually the case when one finishes an author's latest book, I have been left with the urge to check out a few more. Luckily my library has a brilliant saga section. It is always difficult to find something different to say about family sagas, for the most part you know what you are going to get when you pick one up and, being from Liverpool myself, stories from the likes of Anne Baker are always my favourite.

Wartime Girls tells the story of a number of characters, notably Susie Ingram who finds herself pregnant with her dead fiance Danny's child, shunned by his parents she must turn to her mother for support. Louise Ingram and her daughter Martha are there to help Susie bring up little Rosie who is so obviously Danny's child, but it will be some years before the families are united again... There's such a fantastic sense of place in Wartime Girls, the setting coming to life quite vividly in my mind. I especially enjoy picturing the places that I know today as places vastly different to those described here, some no longer even existing. Similarly with the characters, always strong female characters attempting to make the best of their lot in a time of poverty with Anne Baker portraying them as realistic characters, who you very soon come to care for.

Family sagas typically follow a formula and despite the at times lovey dovey nature of some of the stories, it is not always the case that our characters will receive their happy ever after. Along the way there is often plenty of death and heartache, which is of course a realistic portrayal of that time and so there were a number of surprises during Wartime Girls. As said previously, Anne Baker creates characters that you genuinely care about and as such it can be a little bit emotional in places. Overall a solid read and one that I very much enjoyed. I have mentioned in the past that family sagas have a certain audience, yet I do think that is a bit of a lazy assumption as stories such as this can be enjoyed by a much wider audience if people are willing to take a chance on them.

3.5/5

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