The Good Angel
Diney Costeloe has perfectly captured the traumatic atmosphere of the war years both in London and the countryside. The resolve of the British spirit could not be broken by Hitler. “Offices, factories, churches, homes, all targeted to instil fear and misery, to destroy the morale of the Londoners.” The carry on atmosphere of the people prevailed inspite of the blitz. Londoners pulled together, overcoming against all the odds.
War for the German Jews was catastrophic. Many had fought for Germany during the First World War and saw themselves as German “first and foremost.” As the Jewish people were targeted so that had to decide to hide or flee. The kindertransport brought out the desperation and braveness of the parents of the children involved. “It took brave women with deep love for their children to do that.” The children were equally brave as many arrived in England unable to speak the language and alone. Diney Costeloe has captured their fear perfectly.
The novel has the theme of searching. In times of war, people were searching for safety and for others. Lisa spends the whole novel searching not only for others but for herself – who is she?
Names are very important. A name change can also signify a character change or a change of circumstances. Lieselotte’s name is made up of both Lisa and Charlotte. This is significant as she is two halves of the same person.
There is a wonderful air of love and care pervading the whole novel. In times of war, people seem to appreciate their loved ones more. They also open up their homes and hearts to those in need. A child in need can melt the hardest heart.
There is the theme of hope. “She had been keeping a tiny flame of hope alive in her heart.” Hope can keep people going through even the most hopeless of circumstances.
There is the most wonderful feeling of community in both London and Somerset. They were two very different communities but united by the fact that they pulled together to help those in need.
It’s not all good times and camaraderie. The black market and criminals put in an appearance too. The reader is always hoping they get their comeuppance!
The devastation of both lives and property is portrayed in the novel. The reader gets just a small flavour of the times which must have been horrendous.
The Girl With No Name was a fabulous epic tale and a compulsive read. The reader can ‘feel’ the spirit of the people. It was lovely to read a novel where I recognised the settings in both London and Somerset. This is my first novel by Diney Costeloe and i shall certainly be seeking more.