Note: This is Book 2 in a trilogy, The Night I Danced with Rommelbeing Book 1. This book can be read as a stand alone.
The story starts in 1926 in Ireland. Annie and her friends feel they need to emigrate to England to find work and a better life. At age 16, she arrives in Liverpool and starts off with relatives. Pretty soon she has found a sweet beau. Marriage and children follow. As WWII erupts through Europe, Annie and her family and friends are tested in ways none of them had anticipated. This story is based on the actual lives of the author’s ancestors, which makes it that much more poignant.
I really enjoyed Book 1 in this series, but I think I enjoyed this one just a smidge more. Maybe that is because this book references Hilde’s life from Book 1 from time to time and I can clearly see the parallels between Annie and Hilde. For both of these books, I really appreciate how the author simply tells the tales of the ladies during WWII without relying on drama. Life was a handful to start with and it doesn’t need extra drama to validate the characters.
One of the things I learned from this book was that the Irish did not have to participate in WWII. However, several of Annie’s family and friends (Irish) living in England decide to join up with the English forces. This caused a lot of grief for Annie’s family and some felt this was betraying their heritage. And those that joined the service weren’t limited to just the men. In England during WWII, women were also drafted into war service. The author does a great job of showing how suddenly one’s life can change during this time period. One moment you’re getting dressed, making tea, planning to go to work at the clinic or local grocery and the next your answering the mail and realizing that you have to report to the military for uniforms and training.
I highly recommend this book, and series, to folks who want a realistic view of noncombatants during WWII. Everyone was affected and it’s great to have books like these to show more than just the great battles and espionage.
Narration: Nancy Peterson did another excellent job, putting on the perfect Irish lilt for Annie and her family. I was really impressed with her range of character voices and I loved how much of the book was performed in an Irish accent.