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Monday, August 29, 2011

Review Lilian Harry's MOONLIGHT AND LOVE SONGS

The Second World War has come to an end and it has changed the world forever. Just reading this book you can see the huge changes that have taken place within families and this is why this book is so enthralling. I like family stories and this book encompassed several of them - all interlinked by having connections to one street.

Parents can shout and scream and say "you have to do what I say" but there is nothing one can do when one has had a daughter move from being a stay at home, domestic, obedient girl to being one of a very crack Airforce team, assembling from salvage a plane which will go on combat missions. She is also under strict orders not to discuss any matters pertaining to her work with anyone and anyone includes her father. A little difficult for an autocratic father who has been used to implicit obedience to understand or accept - this is exactly what happens and he retorts by saying you will get a crack across your head if you do not say what you are doing!

How April Grove changed in all its aspects is the story of Moonlight and Lovesongs. The title is deceptive as it may indicate a light hearted read - the light hearted bits are there but it is much more for such a small book. The heartache of separation, sometimes forever, the loss of loved ones and not knowing whether they are dead or alive, the agony of having a prisoner of war son, and the sheer futility at the loss of human life is shown over and over again.

One thing which came out very clearly in the story apart from the human angle is the sheer grit of the British public, the absolute support for their authorities - despite the hardships, the rationing and the restrictions. The restriction on travel, the lack of petrol, the lack of proper clothing, the use of coupons, the restrictions on the food available as everything was turned to the war effort was accepted without revolt - maybe a few grumblings here and there but it seemed to be shushed at source as it was the greater good that was important.
One of the rationing aspects which was awesome was the making of an apricot tart with pureed carrots - how one could camoflauge that only God knows!!!

The book dealt with each inhabitant of April Grove from Carol who was forced to give up her baby born out of wedlock by a domineering, cruel mother to Olive who was madly in love with her husband Derek and then falls in love with a quiet man Ray despite her not wanting to. There is Diane fighting her feelings for a Yankee airman as she detests everything "American" as she feels bitterly that they came into the war too late. How some families allowed the war to drive them apart and how some families just became closer and more supportive. The stories are so personal that I could well believe that this is not fiction.

A tale beautifully told.


1 comment:

mel u said...

This story of the courage of the British people during WWII sounds very inspiring-thanks for posting on it