More than a ‘London during the Blitz’ story, acclaimed best-selling author Jo Baker, has beautifully written a well-researched novel, which successfully recreates this period and accurately conveys the feelings of the era in minute detail, thereby transporting the reader back to that time. She perfectly captures the shock and reality of the unrelenting bomb attacks on the lives of Londoners.
Main protagonist Charlotte, aged 20 years, is estranged from her wealthy family and is supporting herself by working as a typist in a boring job at the Ministry of Information. Lonely, still grieving the devastating loss of her beloved brother in France, her world is further rocked when her dear friend Elena is killed at the start of the Blitz.
It can’t be a coincidence that several other loved friends and acquaintances also die during the bombing, but apparently not as a direct result of enemy action; her unease grows. She begins to question their untimely deaths. Is the ‘shadow man’, who is stalking her connected to the deaths? Is she imagining it? Is she losing her mind?
Being in a fragile emotional state and unable to discuss her fears with anyone, she becomes increasingly isolated from her friends. Who can she trust? By chance she finds a friend and confidante in Tom, the young man, who feeds the birds in the park. He agrees to help Charlotte unearth the unexplained cause of death of her close contacts; this inextricably links their futures together.
Not just a historical fiction, this mystery and gentle love story, which set in London in 1940s, is ideal for Book Club discussions. Members will appreciate Jo Bakers wonderful use of language to not only set the scene and create tension, but also to give her character’s depth and make them believable.
There is definitely a possibility for a sequel.
|Publisher||Hatchette: Imprint Pheonix.|
|Distributor||Hachette New Zealand|