Beryl Kingston is a popular and well-established saga writer. Rightly so, she tells a good story and her main characters are appealing. The Octavia of this novel has already starred in an earlier one where readers followed her adventures as a supporter of rights for women and an active suffragette. Now it is 1936 and we find her established as the formidable headmistress of an all girls’ prestigious secondary school. But war is looming and the comfortable life she has achieved is about to vanish.
We follow Octavia, her relatives, and friends through the daily problems of living in Britain during WWII, all of them trying to ‘do their bit’ in whatever way they can, a quieter telling than the usual air force, army, navy, big battles-type WWII novel, but a history just as important as the more dramatic ones.
The story is told more than shown and is comfortable and predictable, but that is saga style. All those well-researched tiny details of ‘fighting’ on the home front make this a novel I would particularly recommend for history students as well as saga fans.