Wives at War

Written by Jessica Stirling
Review by Dana Cohlmeyer

The latest offering from Jessica Stirling follows the Glasgow-born Conway sisters first encountered in Prized Possessions. As the book opens, Glasgow is waiting for Hitler’s bombers to hit the city, and the sisters are coping with the changes war brings. Babs evacuates her children to the country and works in an office only to have a charming American photographer appear. Hearing-impaired and unhappy, Rosie works in a factory and worries about starting a family. Wealthy Polly is still managing her gangster husband’s empire while he and the children are living in New York. He surfaces again with a plot involving the OSS, the Italian Resistance, and spiriting a fortune out of Scotland.

Although this is the second book featuring this family, it was easy enough to jump right in without having read the first one. Wives at War is an enjoyable, well-written read. The Conway sisters are so real that it’s dead easy to imagine your Nan as Babs, or the old lady on yesterday’s bus as Rosie. Stirling’s mastery of setting the mood brilliantly captures WWII-era Glasgow and the well-documented stoicism of the British. This book is just plain good reading for anyone looking for a clean, honest story of life.