Set in the 1920s, this novel is a cross between a family saga and a romance. Comfortably middle class, farmer’s daughter Barbara Bosgrove lives in Norfolk and is studying to be a teacher at a Cambridge teacher’s college. Boating on the Cam after the May ball with her friend Penny and Penny’s brother, Simon, she is spotted by young builder, George Kennett. He comes from the same town as Barbara, and decides she is the woman for him, pursuing her relentlessly. Finally, she agrees to marry him and soon begins to regret it. So does Simon who realises, too late, that he loves Barbara. George is far from the reliable man Barbara believed him to be and she struggles to hold onto a marriage with an unfaithful husband. Simon offers escape, or does he?
The plot is quite convoluted but the book is an easy read, nothing demanding, and all ends well, which is how it should be in this genre. Having known spunky, suffragette and feminist great aunts who were at Oxford in the ‘20s I did find Barbara a bit wet and indecisive, but the aunts were exceptions. Barbara was very much a product of her background and time.