1950s Britain is re-building after the war. Annie Manon has had a traumatic war as a prisoner of the Japanese; now, she wants to put it behind her. Reunited with her loving husband, Georgie, and her daughter, Sarah, Annie wants to do her bit and provide work in her fledgling fashion business for the women of her home town, Wassingham, in Northumberland. Family is all-important to Annie: her brother Don has been looking after her financial inheritance, and the money will be essential in getting her workshop up and running. Georgie will look after the business side for her. Young Sarah is showing a talent for art and fashion design. The future looks rosy. But there are problems. An accident cripples her husband, and things go wrong in the business. Not everyone in the family is as supportive as she’d like to believe. Will Sarah have the courage and tenacity she needs to keep going?
This is a book of two halves: Annie’s story in the 1950s, and Sarah’s as a student in London in the 1960s, a time of sexual liberation, drugs and wild parties. Annie cannot help worrying about what Sarah is getting up to…
Margaret Graham has plainly does her research. The feel of 1950s Wassingham is absolutely convincing: the assumption that women have no head for business; the introduction of such innovations as answering machines; the traipsing round towns in the North East desperately trying to drum up orders. 1960s London is equally well conveyed: the grottiness of Sarah’s digs, the excitement of the new fashions with their psychedelic colours and patterns, and the newly-available recreational drugs. Margaret Graham offers her readers a gripping and realistic slice of life during a vibrant and transitional period. If you like well-written and gritty sagas, you will enjoy this.