Above Us the Sky

Written by Milly Adams
Review by Sarah Cuthbertson

Phyllie Saunders is a newly qualified teacher about to shepherd her young charges onto a train to Dorset, where they will be billeted with local families to escape the London Blitz. Her young man, Sammy, a Royal Navy submariner, suddenly appears and proposes to her before leaving on active service. Phyllie does her best to care for the children and help them adjust to unfamiliar rural life, but not all the natives are friendly. Nonetheless, despite worrying about Sammy and her mother and brother, who have chosen to stay in London, she launches herself into village life and finds a niche in the Women’s Institute, which turns out to be more than ‘Jam and Jerusalem’. Soon, as events take an unexpected turn, Phyllie will need all their support to see her through.

This is a vivid story, full of convincing detail about life during WWII on the Home Front and in the Forces, showing the fear, heartbreak, grit and solidarity of people who did their bit ‘for the duration’, as they called it. The characters are well-drawn and the plot engaging enough to make for an absorbing read.