'Days of Hope' is a fictional novel written by Lyn Andrews. I picked this up from my local library, not really knowing what to expect as this is the first book by Lyn Andrews that I have read.
The book features Chrissie and Grace, who are sisters as the main characters. They were born and raised in Liverpool and are young women living in Liverpool during the 1940s. The Second World War has just ended and life is not easy - families are living on rations and many other restrictions are in place. Chrissie and Grace live with their mother and younger brother Billy, but lost their eldest brother Harold in the war and unfortunately also their father. Their other brother, Georgie, has only just been sent home from the Army.
Grace is a homely, kind and understanding character that faces the bad times with a brave face and just sort of gets on with things. Chrissie on the other hand is a few years younger than Grace and is a more feisty character that is always searching for life's next thrill. The two sisters are therefore really quite different to one another.
As the war finally comes to an end, Grace goes with the flow, understanding that life will not change for the better overnight, that it will take time for things to get back to how they were before the war. Chrissie on the other hand expects everything to be quick, for there to be good food, good clothes and good times just round the corner and for her it couldn't be quick enough - she is fed up with the way that life has been the last few years.
Always on the lookout for excitement Chrissie quickly falls for a visiting Irishman, Pat, whom she meets at a friend's wedding. In an instant she decides that running away to marry him in Ireland is the best way to secure a more fulfilling life than one she can expect to have in the dull and slowly recovering Liverpool. So she leaves home, not caring how everyone else might feel and thinks that little else but happiness awaits her.
Inevitably Chrissie has problems - not least because she just didn't know Pat well enough to marry him. And it's the way that Grace has to come to her rescue that forms quite a large part of the story, so it is here that I shall stop saying any more as I don't want to ruin it for anyone that wants to read it!
I really quite liked this book and that is mainly due to the fact that I wasn't really sure how it was going to end. It's been a while since I read a book that had an unpredictable ending so this made a nice change. I was genuinely surprised by the direction of events which took place and wouldn't have guessed how things turned out. Right until the very end that is - it was so good in terms of unpredictability right until the last chapter or so and I actually wondered if Lyn Andrews rushed the end of this story. However the twists and turns of the plot of this book is still one of the best things about it.
In terms of how easy this book was to read I'd say it was very easy and therefore made for a very relaxing read. The language that was used was simple and effortless to understand. I also particularly liked the way that Lyn Andrews incorporated the different dialects in the story. For example Pat (and other Irish characters from the book) spoke in an Irish way and used words commonly used by people in Ireland, whilst for Chrissie and Graces' families, their spoken language sounded more English. This use of speech made the whole story seem a lot more authentic.
The relationship between Chrissie and Grace was an interesting one. I actually found Chrissie an annoying and selfish character, as did many other characters in the book. But Grace seemed to forgive Chrissie for all her faults and this just made me annoyed with Grace! I don't think any sister would be that forgiving, especially when everyone else, including their own families could see how selfish and self-absorbed Chrissie could be sometimes. I thought that Graces' character was thus a little bit fake at times - no one is able to be that nice all the time.
I think the length of the book was roughly about right if not a little stretched out towards the end. Like I said before - the fact that the end of the book was a lot more predictable than the rest made the end seem like a bit of a drag and it could have probably been cut a chapter or two short.
I think anyone looking for a lazy yet interesting holiday read or a book to snuggle up with over the coming Christmas period will enjoy reading this.
You can get 'Days of Hope' by Lyn Andrews from Amazon for £5.48 (new) or £0.01 (used).
Published - 2008
Pages (paperback) - 480
Thanks for reading!