Book: The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: 2009
Source: This is the first ever review book that I received from a publisher. Since I had yet to start marketing myself to publishers, I’m thrilled and I have no idea how the publicist found me. The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison was published by a small press in the UK in 2009. The Washington Square Press edition will be on sale July 5th.
Summary: Anna Sands, at eight years old, heads off on a great adventure with thousands of other London children, evacuated to the countryside at the brink of World War II. Her story is the thread that ties this multi-viewpoint book together, giving us a variety of home-front experiences in England: the London mother who finds herself essentially single and child-free again, the couple who turns their country estate into a boarding school, the returning soldier father of the girl, and others.
Thoughts: I have long been fascinated by the concept of evacuated children from London, but I learned things from this book (I love it when historical novels teach me about history). I hadn’t realized quite how organized and official the process was. Parents put their children on buses not knowing where they were going, not even if they were headed to a foster home or a boarding school. What a difficult thing for parents to believe that this was the way to keep your children safe and, yet, to have to submit them to such an uncertain process that goes so much against our instincts for keeping children safe.
I continued relating to the character of the mother in this story, Roberta Sands, as she came to the gradual realization that she was being given a second chance at the single life. Her husband was off to war and her daughter was off to the country. She had the pick of wartime jobs to give her an independent income and reason to be out in the world. I am sure many modern mothers have a kind of alternate life fantasy that looks pretty much like that; imagine what it would be like back before it was the norm for middle class women to have careers of their own choosing.
As a romance reader, I hoped for less bleak conclusions than this book offered. But, a realistic war story can’t have happily ever after endings.
Appeal: The well-drawn settings and characters will fascinate anyone with a passing interest in the home front of World War II in England. This will also appeal to readers who enjoy literature with multiple viewpoints, deftly handled.
Challenges: This is Book 4 of 6 in my British Books Challenge. For the final two , I have the first Maisie Dobbs downloaded on my iPad and an offer from a British-American friend to borrow her copy of Watching the English by anthropologist Kate Fox.
Edited to Add: Here’s the link to Julie’s review at Knitting and Sundries: The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison. She has links to other reviews and a giveaway of the book open through September 22, 2011.
Watch this space. This afternoon I’ll be posting about my participation in the 48 Hour Book Challenge with an opportunity for your comments to increase my donation to the Joplin Schools Tornado Relief Fund.