THE LOST ENGLISH GIRL
Simon and Schuster Canada
March 7, 2023
This is another book that I was attracted to because of the cover. That, and the review of a fellow reviewer whose taste in books is very similar to mine. The cover and my friend, the reviewer, did not disappoint me.
It did not take long to get lost in this story. Viv gets pregnant before marriage, her beau (Joshua) agrees to marry her but leaves her right after the ceremony (literally) and leaving Viv and her baby girl to live with her extremely controlling mother and father. Due to the dangers of WW2, Viv is persuaded to send her 4 year old girl to live in the country for safety.
The story is mostly told from two points of view. Viv’s story details how she gets along during the war, raising little Maggie. Joshua’s story tells a little about his life in New York and then how he survives as a navigator in the RAF. There are letters written by the characters too, interspersed, to move the story forward.
The characters are well developed and they evolve. Viv loves her daughter fiercely and dreams of happiness with her. Joshua starts out as an irresponsible and heartless young man but as life confronts him he matures. Viv’s mother is beyond loathsome. She thinks she is a devoted Catholic but I think she is the Devil incarnate.
There was a huge twist around the middle of the book, the another twist closer to the end. Both took me by surprise.
There are many themes present throughout: tragedy, anti-semitism, estrangement, family.
The book ended with lots of hope. I was satisfied with the ending.
The author’s notes at the end were very interesting. She explains to the reader how many of the incidents were based on family history. That fact always puts a personal touch on a story.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.