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In the days following one of the worst blitz's in 1941, Pearl Jenkins finds love and happiness in the arms and in matrimony with her sweetheart Jim Nesbit.
She feels that she has found the ideal man and made a really good match, knowing his unwavering love for her she feels truly blessed, that is until a face from the past appears at her wedding breakfast.
She has a deep and dark past with Ricky Winters, a man who she hoped one day to forget, but as he has other idea's and has no started professing his love for her younger sister Ruby she must make a very hard decision......should she tell her loved one's the truth?
This is however wartime, not a problem for Pearl and her new husband as he has a protected job, meaning he shouldn't be called up for active duty, but when he decides he must be the man and make hard sacrifices, she again finds herself alone, and unprotected.
I have a whole stack of wartime romances to work my way through, thanks to my mum in law who simply loves this genre of book, so upon starting to read this I expected the same generic boy meets girl, boy gets sent to war, boy goes missing etc..., but this does feel like it has a bit more "meat on the bone" story wise.
There is the backdrop of the war, which is of course a story in itself, but as the main character is Pearl, the majority of the book is written about her (though there are two very interesting chapters following her husband in Africa, I am afraid I am one of those people who assumed that much of the war took place in France or Germany), the war comes very secondary to the duplicitous character of Ricky, who is truly not what you expect and fairly took my breath towards the end of the book with his actions.
The book starts with such promise, and the addition of the love between Ricky and Ruby that shouldn't really be happening (but of course is) gives you a real false hope of excitement throughout the entire book, but I found that a whole chunk of the book (from the war scene's until almost the end) completely pointless and to be fair time consuming and monotonous.
The ending does go some way to dragging the book back to almost good, but again changes into an almost generic version of the wartime romance books, which I felt disappointed by as the story seemed to be going off in a different tangent for the majority of the book, then completely u-turned making it go from feeling believable in some places to complete fiction (which I know it actually is, but I did feel the struggles and pain that we all feel during our lives, there is not always a happy ending after all!).
I did feel that although the book showed initial promise, it deteriorated quite quickly, and even with the slightly better than expected twist towards the end, I felt little compassion or even cared what eventually happened to Pearl and Jim.
The character of Ricky was the highlight for me, as sometimes in these types of books the men are almost painted to be very virtuous, or at least as far as a full red blooded male can be!
Ricky was a completely off putting, as even though the reader does know what happened in the past (even though very few other characters did), you do start to warm to him, thinking that maybe everyone deserves a second chance and can change, which of course they don't always, I felt he was well written, and the perfect "carry on" villain, with me even thinking that he should come with his own sinister theme tune at times!
This aside I can only really give this book 3 stars, as it was readable and some parts were quite hopeful, but the middle section that never seemed to end (which some might get philosophical about and say it was a reference to the never ending tragedies of war...which I wouldn't!), and the turn around at the end was a bridge too far!
Price wise this has a RRP of £6.99, but can be purchased for less via www.amazon.co.uk
Thanks for reading x