The Lights Will Come On Again
The Air Raid Girls At Christmas by Jenny Holmes is a delightful historical novel set during the weeks leading up to Christmas 1941. It is the second book in the Air Raid Girls series but can be read as a stand-alone.
The action takes place in a small Yorkshire town on the coast. We witness residents pulling together in their fight against Hitler. On the whole there is a solidarity and a sense of community.
All is not a bed of roses as there are those with racial prejudice, believing every German is an enemy alien. They do not take in the facts of those who are German but Jewish who fled persecution in Germany, only to be treated unfairly in England. Fortunately, kind hearts outweigh those who are black-hearted.
There is the theme of unmarried mothers. The act of how a pregnancy occurred is not taken into account. The father is not blamed but guilt and shame heaped upon the innocent. In contrast we see those with kind hearts who are determined to love and support and help heal those with broken spirits. It is shameful the way unmarried pregnant girls are treated by those who should know better as they are hidden away in homes run by the church.
We see the bravery of ordinary men and women who are called upon to serve the needs of others – from air raid wardens to ambulance drivers to fishermen – all do what is required of them in England’s hour of need.
In the midst of war, daily life continues with births, accidents, engagements and work. The ordinary happens alongside the fear of nightly bombing raids as lives are held in tension.
All the characters are well drawn, warm and welcoming.
I really loved The Air Raid Girls At Christmas. I look forward to subsequent books.