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Norfolk,1953. The Fens have never seen anything quite like the girls from USAF Drampton. Overpaid, overfed and over here.

While their men patrol the skies keeping the Soviets at bay, some are content to live the life of the Future Homemakers of America – clipping coupons, cooking chicken pot pie – but other start to stray, looking for a little native excitement beyond the perimeter fence. Out there in the freezing fens they meet Kath Pharaoh, a tough but warm Englishwoman. Bonds are forged, uniting the women in friendship that will survive distant postings, and the passage of forty years.

Reviews

5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

An excellent read

This book is about female friendship and the lifelong relationships between a group of women who are wives of American air force personnel posted to Britain, Norfolk in particular, in the 1950s. There are lots of books on the market almost idolising lifelong friendships between women but this author is much more realistic. The women are believable and what happens to them seems real.The book is narrated by Peggy looking back at the past from the current day - this means that we get an update and a feeling of following the women and their families through their lives. As I write this I understand that the author is about to publish a sequel "The Early Birds" - I am not sure what she still has to say about the women in their old age but I am very much looking forward to finding out.

There are a lot of characters in this book. There are are women, their husbands, their children and the local people with whom they make a relationship. I didn't find it difficult to keep track of who was who and I think that this was mostly because of the first person narration so you always saw everyone else in terms of how they related to Peggy. The women are the focus of the story in one way and yet we are always reminded that the men are the centre of everything, the providers and those with power. The women move on because of what happens to their husband - in one way they are mere appendages but, of course, they have lives of their own which are to a greater or lesser degree fulfilling.

The author tackles all sorts of issues in her depiction of the lives of the women and the book reflects the time in which they lived. There is violence, bereavement, addiction, fertility issues, great unhappiness and all the other things that we bump into over the course of a life. The women are at times weak and at other times resilient but they are always human and the book is told with a lot of humour.

I very much enjoyed this book. I thought it was easy to read but actually quite thought provoking. I enjoyed the funny moments and I loved watching as the women moved through their lives.

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Enjoyable & Funny

This was a very enjoyable read. It was an easy going, well written book with plenty of humour. This book made me smile & even laugh aloud occasionally. It also had it's share of tragedy though I didn't quite get moved to tears.

The characters in this book are great. The book is narrated by Peggy & centres around her life & her friends over 50 years. They begin as US Airforce wives in post war Norfolk where they meet Englishwoman Kath, & progresses through their lives once they return to America. They have children, grandchildren & even great-grandchildren. They are widowed, divorced, married, arguing, getting jobs, starting businesses.....you name it, they did it. The central characters are how I imagine American women to be which may well be slightly stereotypical but it made for a good read.

Alongside the good story there is the social history side of the book. Although nothing is approached in any depth you cannot fail to be interested at some of the statements made which I suspect were typical of their time. There is brief mention of the war, black segregation, politics & homosexuality. However this book never pretends to be looking at these in more than a passing comment or two.

This was a well written, entertaining read. One that I can happily recommend.

 
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