An Epic Read
When Christmas Bells Ring by Katie Flynn is a historical wartime saga that compels you to read on from the start.
The story is mainly set in Liverpool from 1932-1948 and centres on twins April and May born in 1932. They are delightful but also a handful as they love each other fiercely but also fight like cat and dog. Katie Flynn explores the bond that twins have. It is an invisible thread that unites across space and time. (I can confirm this bond as I have twin brothers who are three years younger).
War for the twins really begins as they are evacuated to Wales. The countryside is in complete contrast to Liverpool but Liverpool is where their Mum and Grandma are, so there is a strong emotional pull. As the twins grow older they learn to appreciate the countryside.
Liverpool suffered from raids by German bombers. There is a truly harrowing scene that I found upsetting to read. The atmosphere of terror and horror was perfectly captured by Katie Flynn.
There is a community atmosphere within the novel – amongst the poor of Liverpool, in the countryside and within the armed forces. People came together right where they were for the war effort.
The reader spends time following the fortunes of the twins mother who serves, along with others from Liverpool. We ‘experience’ the women’s land army as well as the WAAF.
We witness relationships along the way. There are some bumpy rides as characters wall up their heart for the duration of the war for fear of hurt, much to the disappointment of others.
I thoroughly enjoyed When Christmas Bells Ring. It was an epic read through the years and one that I can highly recommend.