I read about this first from Thomas from Stuck in a Book and it was a surprise when the library had it available. Not a very long book I was able to finish it in one go also because I could not keep it for the following morning!
Set in the bleakest of backgrounds during the Second World War in a boarding house all occupied by people who seem lost and without any direction, we have a time of shortages and a seemingly unending war, blitzes and bombings and short tempers and irrational fears and irritations.
Miss Roach, sensible and conservative has to put up with the bullying of Mr. Thwaites who seems to want to terrorize her into a feeling of helplessness (which he succeeds very well), we then have the American Lieutenant who helps her to enjoy herself a bit, and then comes in Vickie Kugelmann the German refugee and this is when Miss. Roach's real problems begin.
Courageous and gritty and how everyday Brits just got on with it despite overwhelming odds and difficulties, the manner in which life changed for people especially for women (drinking in a public house and smoking in public!!!) the role of women in everyday life changed forever. On a more intimate level the difficulties of female friendships and how women may have to work harder to make a friendship really work out is also highlighted in this book. The author deals very cleverly with relationships as seen in the boarding house and how every timid person has its limit and that Miss. Roach is not going to be intimidated forever!
A good book.