Looking At The Stars
Voices From The Past – The Woman by Elizabeth Uywin is the final book in the Voices From The Past trilogy. It is another captivating read as we follow Mary Cole through the war years to 1947.
Having read all three books back-to-back, it has been a powerful journey with Mary Cole. I have been totally emotionally invested since the first page of book one.
In this final book, Mary Cole becomes a land girl. It was a hard life as she was billeted with a Norfolk farmer who had no time for Londoners. Once more, Mary’s sunny personality shines through as she rolls up her sleeves and does her bit for the war effort.
Throughout the trilogy we have seen Mary’s heart of compassion for others – whether it was her sister, those bombed out or a lady whose house flooded – Mary’s heart is huge.
War brought losses – and not always through bombs. There were personal tragedies that would last a lifetime. “I’ve just lost a child… I have to believe that someone somewhere is taking care of my boy. The thought of Jesus being with him helps me cope.” What a heart-breaking scene. We witness the importance of faith in a life. This ordinary life of faith contrasts with that of the parish priest who seems more interested in high teas and a tit for tat type of religion.
Peace In Our Time
Voices From The Past – The Girl by Elizabeth Uywin is the second book in the Voices From The Past trilogy. It focuses on the years 1938-1940.
As the dates suggest, England is heading towards war even as ‘peace in our time’ is celebrated. Life continues but everyone is aware that now is the time to grab little pockets of happiness. “If happiness calls, you must give it a comfortable seat – before it’s too late.”
Despite their poverty, Londoners are a proud people with appearances being everything. Pregnancies in a single girl are frowned upon by some, whilst being welcomed by others.
Mary Cole is back home but only for a short time as children are evacuated with the declaration of war. Memories of Reedham orphanage loom large in Mary Cole’s mind and she fears what lies ahead. Some children did have a bad experience and the reader reads with in trepidation as to what lies ahead. Evacuees heading to Brighton meet a Salvation Army officer who declares “our house is as large as God’s mansion when it comes to His work.” He is clearly operating as the hands and feet, the eyes and ears of Jesus.
Powerful And Heart-Breaking
Voices From The Past – The Baby by Elizabeth Uywin is a powerful and heart-wrenching tale based on the real life of Mary Cole born in the East End of London in 1924. It is the first of a trilogy.
The reader instinctively likes Mary Cole. We meet her as she emerges from the womb. She almost seems like an invisible baby to all but her brother Roy (whom she calls Roysty) and he adores her. Their bond is beautiful. Your heart will swell as you witness their love, and there are times when your heart will break too.
The Cole family live in poverty. Love was chosen over inheritance. What they lack in wealth, they more than make up in love. It is this love that reaches from the pages of the book to envelop the reader.
God is at the heart of lives. “ ‘Thank you’ he whispered to his ever hearing, ever listening God.” It is not uncommon for the vicar to just drop in on the family… although it seems as much for a high tea as for spiritual welfare.
There is much loss in the novel including that of grief. “I’ve got to keep working… if I stop, I think, and when I think, I cry.” The pain radiates outwards. Your heart will break for the characters.