Muddy Boots and Silk Stockings

Written by Julia Stoneham
Review by Sara Wilson

Alice Todd reluctantly takes on the job of warden at a hostel for Land Army girls on a Devonshire farm, not at all sure she is up to the task. As she grows in confidence she takes on the role of mother, confidante, friend and protector of the girls in her care. The volunteers themselves are a mixed bunch, differing wildly in character, background and aspirations, but as the war deepens they are drawn together by hard work and loss.

Muddy Boots and Silk Stockings is not quite saga, not quite soap opera, not quite drama, but a melding of the three. It’s a slice of wartime life written with great insight and subtlety. The roots of the novel are in a radio series written by the author and that sense of intimacy and immediacy has been retained with great effect.

My only criticism, and it is a small one, is that it occasionally reads as if it’s a sequel, leaving the reader wanting to know a little more of the back-story – although this might be addressed in the signposted follow-up novel.