Category: Romance, Sagas & Historical / Sagas
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 3 October 2002
Number of pages: 368
Sheila Brophy's hopes and dreams are those of any young Dublin girl. She longs to fall in love. Fergus is older than her, in the British Army and fond of his drink, but he loves her and Sheila doesn't hesitate when he proposes although their marriage will mean leaving Dublin. In November 1961 Sheila finds herself and her twin baby girls with three other young women on their way to join their husbands stationed in Germany. The young women are plunged into a very different life from the ones they have left. They become friends, sharing their worries, secrets, disappointments and troubles. Elaine Crowley creates a community bound together by the special intimacy that comes when a group of people is thrown together and living far away from their homes and families.
Essentially, Elaine Crowley's latest novel highlights the old adage that you can take the girl out of the city, but not the city out of the girl. Crowley's heroine, Sheila, is desperate to have a better life than her mother had and believes that true love is the route to achieving this. So she accepts soldier Fergus's proposal without hesitation, although it means leaving her beloved Dublin and her family to live on a German army base. She becomes friends with other women in the same situation and they share their hopes and sorrows, but all the while Sheila plans how she can return to her homeland. Along the way, Crowley manages to weave in some interesting insights into life for young army wives in the early 1960s. The 'free love' and liberated attitudes we associate with the era do not quite touch this young woman's world. Her strong Catholic upbringing and her father's involvement with 'the Troubles' seem to keep Sheila firmly rooted in a past that threatens to have too much influence on her future. Sometimes this story is more interesting for the light it sheds on a snapshot of time than it is for the storyline itself - which is relatively weak. One of the subplots - about the strange relationship between Yvette, another of the army wives, and her husband Victor - stands out for being both absorbing and disturbing, so much so that it throws the rest of the book out of balance. This dramatic episode demonstrates that Crowley is capable of much better writing than the rest of the book suggests - perhaps she should write a spin-off novel concentrating solely on Yvette and Victor. (Kirkus UK)
Elaine Crowley lives in Port Talbot with her husband and has six children. She did not start writing until after her children had left home.
In Stock: 12 copies