Book number 48 (nearly there!) in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is Fur Coat, No Knickers by Anna King.
“A city torn apart by war. A family torn apart by tragedy
At the top of Lester Road in London’s East End stands ‘Paddy’s Castle’, the three-storey, red-bricked Georgian house that is home to Grace Donnelly and her family.
Life may be hard in the late 1930s, but it is nothing compared with what is about to follow. Grace’s beloved fiancé Stanley decides to enlist in the fight against Nazi Germany. And as the sirens signal blitz after blitz of bombers, the family can only hide in the cellar and hope they will survive.
But Grace has more than just the Germans to worry about. The good-looking Nobby Clark is keen to do more than just look out for his best friend’s fiancée. And scheming barmaid Beryl Lovesett is determined to worm her way into the family home, seducing Grace’s uncle with her fur coat, no knickers…” (Thanks Netgalley!)
As we all know, I love a bit of World War II historical fiction so this was right up my alley. The novel is based around the Donnelly family and their friends as they find themselves in London for the duration of World War II. They face tragedy, love and loss as they find themselves in a new world that involves bombings, blackouts and rationing. The story centres on Grace, Violet and Polly, three sisters who are each trying to find their way in the world at a time of great uncertainty.
I really do love novels based during this time period. In the face of adversity, the characters are brought together in a way that hasn’t happened since. There isn’t anyone that hasn’t suffered the loss of a loved one as the men of the population are shipped off to war. However the women left behind pull together to keep the country running, and to keep each other going despite their personal battles and grief. Grace, Violet and Polly are three very different women, which is very apparent in the novel. Grace fights to be strong and keep her family together; Violet is fiercely independent and in the new world finds herself conflicted between gaining more independence and the draw of her family. Polly is the frightened youngest Donnelly who is struggling to hold it together when faced with terrifying evenings in bomb shelters, as the Germans rain down on London with truly horrific results.
The fear and solidarity of those times in the late 1930s and early 1940s really comes across in this novel. These women fight for themselves and for their family as they struggle to survive. This is a story of tragedy, heroism, love, loss and family. Go and grab yourself a copy of this novel!
Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖
Thanks to Netgalley and Canelo for providing me a copy of this lovely novel! My review is all mine, voluntarily given.