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Friday, May 9, 2014

The War Workers by E M Delafield

Set in the Hostel for Voluntary Workers we have the boss lady Vivian - hard working, tireless, dogmatic and by the end of this story you want to wring her neck. You also wonder at the effect that class had on society in Britain which hopefully does not exist today that allowed a woman of this kind to ride rough shod over everyone and anything in her path. It was her way or the highway sort of business and God help anyone who got in her way.

The bunch of workers were a very nice lot of girls - hard worked and overworked. That anyone would have not had the gumption to tell Miss. Vivian where to get off got me mad. After putting in an eight hour day of hard work, she roped them into canteen duty (for a good cause it is true) but the girls were exhausted, cold and ripe for falling ill (which they often did) because they were so weak.

We have Miss. Jones who arrives a little later in the story - a secretary that cannot be faulted but because she is not an adoring sycophant our Miss. Vivian just does not "take" to her. Miss. Jones not only does everything that is assigned to her but she does not fall over Vivian and this is something that Vivian finds hard to swallow.   Surprisingly Vivian is the daughter of the local Lord and Lady and though he is a bit out of touch (senility perhaps) she is a very nice character and one who is so in touch with current happenings and the changes that are taking place in society that it is actually her daughter who is the snob here!

The story of the lives of these girls and of the intertwined world of both Miss. Vivian and the Lord and Lady of the area is descriptively told. The war is always the focus of the story and there is plenty of that around in history, background and society. The entire story is driven by the War. How it effected young women in Britain is fascinating and how it changed them forever is a feature of this story.

Romance in good measure but delicately told, history in abundance and a personal saga of a family in times of change as well as the huge change in British society are some of the best features of this book. 

Returned to Colombo before schedule as the dog is sick and had to be taken to the Vet. No Vet in Rozella so a quick run back to Colombo.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds fascinating! My mom is fascinated with British society and would probably love this book.