The Second World War may be almost over, but it has changed the lives of many, especially the characters in this book which completes the series featuring three young women who live and work in London. Not that this book has to be read in order with the other fine books; Hendry is skilled enough to make this a standalone tale which also manages to tie up many of the loose ends. It revolves around an ambulance Station, number 75, which has been kept busy throughout the Blitz itself and the other incidents which have rendered life in London so dangerous. Through challenges in picking up casualties and others who need to get to the London hospitals quickly, the women of Station 75 have had to learn to work together as well as cope with love and loss. Frankie has had a difficult home situation as she must deal with loss and the evacuation of those she loves, while waiting for her fiance to return from Europe. Winnie, the strong minded rebel must deal with unexpected challenge as she seeks to continue her valuable work. Bella has convinced herself that love and marriage is perhaps not for her, and works at her writing between vital call outs. As new weapons are sent against a ravaged London, can the three women survive and help others to get through the final days of a war which has threatened everything? I was really pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this book of womens’ wartime experience.
The book begins in February 1944. After a long time of relative peace, there is another onslaught of bombs on civilians to deal with for Bella and Frankie. Although they can carry some casualties to hospital, there are those that are beyond their help. Winnie, who shares a house with her beloved godmother Connie, recalls her childhood with a distant mother, and considers what that means for her future. Frankie’s great joy is tempered by her difficult relationship with her stepmother, whose behaviour is causing many problems. As new bombs land with devastating effect, Bella encounters a very different man, who soon develops his own agenda. Station Officer Steele has to support the young women as they are faced with challenges beyond their work at the station, and she has to consider her own future as the war comes to an end.
Despite the sometimes difficult subject matter in a book which deals with injury and sometimes death, this is ultimately a hopeful book which deals with the resilience of people, particularly women. The way that they all work together and remain friends through all the challenges that life throws at them is comforting and ultimately forms the basis of this book, as the others in the series. This book is a pleasure to read and enjoyable, as the author creates and maintains characters which are easy to care about throughout their adventures. As always, the sights, sounds and smells of the city at this significant time are so truthful, and there is obviously a great deal of research in the background. I was so impressed with this book that it was difficult to put it down, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it immensely. Fans of books which deal with women in difficult situations will really enjoy this book, and I recommend it as a super example of the type.