Frances Osborne should have a head start in writing historical fiction about the period of British history 1914-23. She is the great granddaughter of Idina Sackville, the original Bolter,of Nancy Mitford fame about whom she has written so movingly in a non fiction biography of that name. She has her own family history and its anecdotes to call on.This novel has a Downton Abbey- Upstairs Downstairs feel to it but tends to be predictable.All the issues of social change: the position of women in Society and the workforce, changes in clothing, the development of the typewriter,suffrage,the generation of men lost in the War, industrial unrest and the rise of socialism,form the backbone of her novel.A Bolter on her way to Mombasa is included. It is by no means joyful as to outcome.There is a growing fictional genre currently being produced by writers both sides of the Atlantic, fascinated with the themes and events of this time.It began with Pat Barker and AS Byatt and now includes Jo Baker, Charles Todd, Deanna Raybourn and Lauren Willig among others.This book probably fits within that genre but not well.I think I prefer the factual version of the biography which is far stranger than fiction.The author's notes at the end make interesting reading.
I found this book disappointing. The characters were hard to warm to, but even so, their stories deserved a more satisfactory outcome than they were given! And too many storylines were left unresolved. The background info. about the suffragettes and suffragists, and ambulance driving in WWI, was interesting, however.
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