A Mother’s Journey: Book 1 in the Yorkshire Blitz Trilogy

Written by Donna Douglas
Review by Simon Rickman

Hull, England, June 1940. Initially you’d think this story is going to be mainly about recently widowed Edie Copeland who, pregnant and rejected at home in York, travels to Hull, her deceased hubby’s hometown, to start a new life. She rents a dingy upper floor flat above the formidably uptight Mrs Huggins, and there’s trouble. She finds work down the docks in a netting factory; yes, more trouble, alongside the kindnesses.   But as we familiarise ourselves with the local women’s histories, it becomes clear that their tough lives are also mothers’ stories, each one unlocking the next. We’ve met the pregnant newcomer, then there’s her across the way with the baby and toddler, that timid one in the shop missing her teenage army cadet, the cold one downstairs whose child left home under a cloud and the older Mother Figure who ‘runs’ the terraced street where all the main action takes place, to mention just a few. With so many men away at war, this novel is female-heavy, but each of their well-told stories is worthy of the book’s title, so much so it could justifiably be re-titled ‘Every Mother’s Journey’.   Eclectic male characters are well described – the vicious bullying drunk, the handsome hunk, the hen-pecked hubby and the shell-shocked World War One trenches survivor.  Some kids add happy chaos from time to time, but the main dramas are powerfully driven by the womenfolk.

The narrative flows as unceasingly as life itself with confrontation, domestic abuse, passion and loss, secrets and death, all under the threat of air-raids and the many vividly described wartime hardships. Ultimately the overriding message of love and forgiveness wins through in a tale that, while simply told and easily read, propels us to an exciting conclusion.