This though set in turbulent times - the 1920s and 1930s - is a gentle read. With uncertainty all around, sudden death quite possible, the restrictions of wartime Britain, still this was a very relaxing, soothing book.
The character of Sarah herself lends to this feeling. It is like a port in a storm how one person could imbue a sense of calm to all. The Morris family is a happy one. With the sudden death of Mrs. Morris things take an uncertain turn. Sarah takes on the role of Mother with no questions asked from anyone including Mr. Morris who takes it for granted. He is certainly a very good man but he is rather insular and thinks that this is the ideal life for Sarah. Lottie the only other girl strikes out on her own from the beginning and the boys with the onset of war are all absorbed into the war.
Life in the little village prior to the war was a peaceful one and during Sarah's school days it was a happy one. Sarah was able to leave school as was her wish and study languages both French and German which was so very useful for her later on. She was also introduced to Charles, one of her brother's friends who also turned out to be the love of her life. With the onset of war and Mr. Morris taking over a parish in London, Sarah moves to London to keep house for him. Charles being an Austrian citizen also has to go back, despite the danger from Hitler to look after some urgent family matters. With his departure Sarah feels bereft but struggles on. Taking on a job as interpreter for a very large departmental store is the saving of Sarah who enjoys the interaction with people and knowing she is doing something more useful than just cooking and cleaning.
The story goes on detailing how the life and future of the entire Morris family unfolds with a special emphasis on Sarah. You are throughout the book hoping that things are going to end well for her particularly. Sarah has sacrificed much for her family especially after her mother's death but with no recriminations and you feel that justice will not be done unless there is a happy ending for her. Thankfully this was so.
I enjoyed this book from Open Library. Stevenson, Delafield, Thirkell are not authors I will ever get a chance of reading otherwise!