Margaret has a past, and in this book her past, and that of her friends Flora and Ella, has much to do with the events in this dramatic read. The third book in a series, this novel can be read as a standalone as it powers through a life in Bradford and other places in Britain as Margaret, or Mags, tries to come to terms with her decisions and the danger to herself and those she loves. Once more revolving around limitations placed on women in a post war Britain, and the traps they can find themselves in, the fact of their bravery on the front line seems forgotten. Wood has much to say about the strength these women have shown when very young, and how they must deal with the aftermath of a war that killed so many.
As always, the author uses her considerable empathy and skill to wrap the reader in an involvement with these women, especially Mags. She does this with an attention to detail, clothes and setting which reveals a deep understanding of the time, and how to create a world which invites the reader in and keeps them there. There is romance, true love, and desire as sometimes women act for themselves rather than the sensible option. As always with Wood’s books, I was so pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this latest release from this prolific and skilful writer.
As this book begins, Mags is preparing for her wedding to the passionate if determined Harold when she suffers a tragic loss. Despite some hesitations and rumours brought to her by others, she follows her desires, even when there seems to be some threat to herself and the independent way that she has been encouraged to live. She is determined to maintain her involvement in the mill owned by her family, not only for herself but to continue with the social and medical provision for her workers. However, her determination is exceeded by another, and soon her world comes crashing down in the cruelest way possible. Every aspect of her life is challenged, and those who she loves are hounded and pursued. Throughout she must struggle to survive and help those whose choices have been affected by her own.
Despite the dramas and tragedies that permeate this book, there is always hope that things will change and improve. The fact that there is always someone on hand even in the darkest of times to help in small ways and add their own strength is a great theme in this book. The kindness of both friends and strangers in the face of threat is an important theme in this book, and gives it an uplifting feel despite tragedy. I enjoyed following the characters through a significant section of their lives, and as always the children are portrayed well with their own characters. Altogether this is a most enthralling, engaging and enjoyable book, which will not only please Mary Wood’s existing fans, but I expect will attract new followers to her particular brand of female centred novels.