To Dream Again
With a bright, noisy start on Liverpool Street station in London at the start of WW2, we see the bustling crowds as Judy and her two small evacuee girls leave for safety. At first sight this appears to be a light, family, wartime story of little consequence. But the writer cleverly interweaves Judy’s background of a brutal marriage with the events of the war and the setting of a charming seaside community.
The story moves between tension and relief. The poor wartime marriage gives way to a new life in a theatre office for Judy, and we read about concerts, children’s ballet lessons and party dresses; even the family’s involvement in a puppet theatre. With no money coming from Sid, his war injury and his army desertion, Judy has problems. There’s a scene in a London Underground shelter as Judy makes her way to Southampton to see injured Sid.
This good story of wartime, love, and family moves quickly through scenes of despair and joy, but maintains hope. Unusual problems face Judy in bringing to justice the AWOL Sid. She meets another man, an airman relative of the puppet theatre owners, but she cannot trace Sid to divorce him. Eventually the bad marriage is resolved and the girls are happy. The timescale moves through victory in North Africa to the invasion and collapse of Italy. Then Judy’s airman crashes and disappears. But lo! We now have another twist or two which could appear as improbable conveniences until we realise this is the essence of fiction. There is a surprising and terrible turn of events with lots of, ‘I’ll never let that happen to you again…’