Whew! So much filled 409 pages… (CONTAINS SPOILERS.)
The story is set in World War 2, and covers pretty much the entirety of the whole 5 years. That’s a lot to write about, in terms of a saga.
The basic premise is that there are two women: Cathy, a middle-class girl, and her working-class counterpart, Sarah, the men that they love and lose, as well as the other women involved; such as the snobby India Callingham whose only aspiration is to have an heir for the family home of Knayston. She reminded me a little of Lady Mary, one of the main characters from the 2010 costume drama, Downton Abbey.
Winds brings vividly to life so many aspects of the Second World war, such as the Battle of Britain and those involved in nursing the wounded and dying soldiers. This is certainly a main focus in the story, and it highlights the futility of a structured existence (i.e.: set social classes, social norms broken by war, the old inheritance laws etc.) when war is unrelenting and kills mercilessly regardless of rank or family.
To be honest, when I started reading the book I expected a twee story where some skewed lesson is learned in the end but everyone marches away from it smiling and with some incredibly unrealistic archetype of a man on their arm…
In that regard, I was wrong. The story kept me hooked throughout, and I wanted to see all the characters have a happy ending. It was good to see several of the characters defy expectations or norms in their own way as well.
We see characters change for the better (or the worst!) and it is interesting to see the parts in the story where the older generation have to try to exist with their old world values (dressing for dinner, for example.) in a new world where people have freer existences because it was demanded of them due to circumstance or situation.
I have also found that there is a sequel to this book and I will be borrowing it as soon as it becomes available. I want to see what happens to the characters as they adjust to a changing world after the war.
A fantastic book, definitely worth reading. Have you been reading any good books recently?