The West Country in wartime. And the Land Girls are gathering on the farm of John and Faith Lawrence.
Prue, man-eating hairdresser from Manchester; Ag, a cerebral Cambridge undergraduate; Stella, a dreamy Surrey girl stunted by love: three very different women from very different backgrounds, who find themselves thrown together, sharing an attic bedroom and laying the foundations for a friendship that will last a lifetime...
I guess, given my blog persona, I should have reviewed this book a long time ago. Although I have read it before, I wanted to refresh my memory. I am pleased to declare that, for me, it did not disappoint. I was worried that I was looking at it through the rose tinted glass-ness of 10 years past.
Telling the story of a trio of young ladies, this book hooks you from the first chapter. Like many volunteers into the Women's Land Army before them, they are shocked and out of their comfort zones but fairly adept at getting stuck in.
There is Prue who can be brash at times but also full of life, enjoying the opportune love that the war throws her way but seemingly unwilling to show her softer side. Ag is the reserved intellectual of the group who prides herself on her countryside and scholastic poetry knowledge. And then there is Stella who proves herself to be helpful, caring and hardworking.
I adored the portrayal of the farmland they inhabited, along with the family they got to know and love. But it is the character of Ratty who I held in the highest esteem throughout this book and the jarring, tempestuous marriage with his wife.
I could identify a bit of my own personality, as well as that of my friends, in each of the girls portrayed. It took me a while to get into Angela Huth's style of writing, but once there, it would not let me go.
There is love and loss, laughter and tears. But underneath it all, under the breeches and scratchy green woolen jumpers, the mud, sunshine and cowpats, this novel touches on what some girls felt on being part of the WLA - that they had truly made friendships that would last long after the bombs and rationing had stopped. They partook in "doing their bit".
An 8/10 from me.