Published: Lake Union
Date: 12th February 2019
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen explores the upheaval of World War 1 and the far flung impact on the people in England. Hardly one family was left untouched by loss, and if not loss – men who return deeply scarred by the experience. Class barriers begin to tone down, women take on new roles – and The Victory Garden gave me, the reader a taste of that.
Emily – the main character was someone I came to really like and admire. She is a middle class woman with a Judge as a father. Her mother is very cognisant of class and was rather a sad case to behold. Because they had lost their son in the first year of the war they kept a tight hold on Emily and would not allow her to help out in the war effort. And the question of them is – when the chips are down “Does family matter?”
When Emily turns twenty one though all that changes and she sets off to become a land girl. The work is hard, but she is willing to give it a go and in doing so forms meaningful relationships with women of lower class and means.
The story moves along at a good pace and I found myself picking up the book happily at any chance I had. I loved the journey Emily had to take to find herself and her place among community. And she is supported by a very likeable group of people. I don’t want to give away all that happens to her, so no more.
If you enjoy books about the English countryside, people banding together in hard times and a heroine who ‘comes of age’ then I think you’d enjoy this.