The Doorstep Child by Annie Murray is the third book in a fabulous historical series set in Birmingham. This novel has Evie at its heart and covers the years from 1950’s- 1970’s. It is absolutely heart breaking. My emotions have been torn apart.
Evie, whom the reader met in War Babies, was born in 1943, always unwanted and uncared for (she was the ‘wrong’ sex), Evie has searched to belong and be loved. Evie is a delightful character with a good heart, full of love. I know it’s just a story but I really wanted to give Evie a home!
The Doorstep Child is about family, community and love. It has the heart wrenching topics of illegitimate children and unmarried mothers and all the stigma that brings, homosexuality and mental health. The 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s really seem like the dark ages to the modern reader who is horrified at the attitudes and treatments.
Moving Into The Modern Era
Now The War Is Over by Annie Murray is a fabulous historical novel continuing on from where War Babies left off. It can be read as a stand-alone though.
Covering the years 1951-1962 in Birmingham, the book’s focus is on Melly who is nine in 1951. We experience life from her viewpoint. She is the same caring child she always was. A very likable and lovable character.
The world is moving into the modern age. The reader witnesses the social change. Inner city back to backs are abandoned for the more leafy suburbs and a semi detached. As the housing fell into disrepair so this is mirrored by community life which fractured in the suburbs as life was more isolated from ones neighbours.
Social Change And Community
War Babies by Annie Murray is a marvelous epic novel set in Birmingham during the 1930’s and the war years. It is a novel of a community – people “did not have much money, but they knew how to make a home.” A home is not about money, a home is about love. At times there can be more love found in a slum than a mansion.
There is a surprising amount of snobbery to found among some of the poor. It is character and the state of the heart that is the measure of a person not the size of their bank account.
Women and children are the main focus of the novel. The women had it tough. World War I had robbed some of them of husbands and fathers. A flu epidemic then stole their loved ones. World War II pinched the able bodied for war. The women bandied together, supported each other and survived.
Bravery Under Fire
Meet Me Under The Clock by Annie Murray is a marvelous epic World War II novel about the life of two sisters on the home front. Set in Birmingham, I was in for a real treat as I recognized many of the locations, making the book feel familiar to me.
The two sisters were chalk and cheese but had a close bond that nothing could sever. One entered the WAAF and the other worked as a porter on the railway. They both did their bit for the war effort.
The reader is entertained by the eclectic mix of characters. People pull together but there are always those who will take advantage. Close bonds were formed with neighbors. Strangers became friends. People shared what little they had with those who had even less. Death was all around. Fear from air raids and the dreaded telegram from the war office loomed large in lives. The reader witnesses the bravery of the ordinary men and women who carried on their lives no matter what happened.