originally reviewed at almightylewry.wordpress.com
This starts out to be a lovely little story about dolly and growing up in a village in Northern England before the war. Everything is right with the world in Dolly’s eyes. She has a loving family and wants nothing more to grow up to be like her mother. However there are hints that her mother and father don’t have an equal relationship and her mild mannered father puts up with her mother.
Things deteriorate rapidly when the war comes and her father quits his job in the Tannery and goes to war. Dolly and her mother have to make ends meet and they soon start taking in laundry from the local neighbourhoood. However as time passes and there is no word from her father and no money being sent back like they see from other families in the area dolly’s mother becomes increasingly depressed, before long she has turned to other deviant trades to make ends meet.
“Men and drink seemed to be the only thing that could blot out the reality of her life”
With Dolly’s mother slipping evermore into depression and turning to booze e.tc. this brings on an abusive side to her mother, while they never had the perfect relationship, her situation seems to enhance the ever growing separation between mother and daughter.
While this is all going on Dolly is trying to keep the house going as normal as possible.
The story is told from Dolly’s perspective, from a six year old who doesn’t understand much of the outside world and why things are the way they are when the war starts, to a teenager who is grownup before her time.
The end of the war brings her father home and Dolly finally has a glimmer of hope – however fleeting it may be, that the family can return to normal. However, this book highlights in a very real way that war damages everyone in very different ways. It becomes apparent quickly things will not return to normal very soon…if ever.
Dolly finds comfort in a local boy she grew up with and both share their disturbing home life with each other. Maybe there can be a happy ending for Dolly!!
This is a great tale of loss, depression and the possibility of salvation all the while reinforcing the undertone of cost and sacrifice!! Well worth a read if you get the chance and enjoy historical fiction.