Wartime Friends

Written by Margaret Dickinson
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

1938. Fears of war are prevalent. Eighteen-year-old Carolyn lives on a farm on the Lincolnshire coast with her parents and fifteen-year-old brother, Tom. Carolyn’s mother refuses to allow her daughter to continue with a career, as she expects her to get married and start a family. Tom, on the other hand, has no such expectations laid on him. Carolyn teaches herself shorthand and typing and, with her brother’s help, Morse code as well. He is fascinated with radios and has built his own receiver with help from Mr. Fox, his science teacher. With the outbreak of war, Carolyn joins the ATS and there meets Beryl. They become lifelong friends. Their career in the ATS and problems at home are the main subject of the story.

I am not a great fan of WWII stories but must admit that I found this one fascinating. The characterisation is good on all counts, and the narrative smoothly passes from one set of people to the next. Tom, too, is a prominent character and perfectly believable. It covers wartime work that I only knew vaguely, and I learned a lot. It is one of a series of books by Margaret Dickinson, but each can easily be read separately. The pages turned themselves. Recommended.