book reviews , different studio guests each week. Join us every Thursday between 12 and 1pm on Radio Scilly 107.9fm or log on to radioscilly.com.

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

SHEILA HANCOCK - MISS CARTERS WAR

Review written by Babs Simpson and read live on the bookshow 13th November 2014 

THIS IS A VERY ENJOYABLE FIRST NOVEL BY SH WHOSE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, THE TWO OF US, ABOUT HER LIFE WITH HER LATE HUSBAND JOHN THAW, WAS A MOST DESERVED HUGE SUCCESS.
THE EPONYMOUS HEROINE, MARGUERITE CARTER, IS HALF FRENCH AND WE JOIN HER AS A YOUNG WOMAN JUST STARTING OUT ON HER CAREER AS AN ENGLISH TEACHER IN A LONDON GIRLS GRAMMAR SCHOOL NOT LONG AFTER THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR.  WE LEARN THAT SHE WAS IN SPECIAL OPS EXECUTIVE THROUGH A ERIES OF FLASHBACKS, THAT THEIR PARENTS HAD BEEN KILLED BY THE NAZIS AND THAT SHE HAD A BRIEF PASSIONATE AFFAIR WITH ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF A FRENCH RESISTANCE GROUP SHE HAD BEEN SENT IN TO HELP.
MARGUERITE ENJOYS HER NEW JOB AND MAKES A FRIEND OF A FELLOW TEACHER, TONY, FALLING IN LOVE WITH HIM BEFORE HE ADMITS TO BEING GAY - THIS AT THE TIME WHEN IT IS A CRIMES AND HE COULD BE IMPRISONED IF THE TRUTH CAME OUT.  SO A CLOSE FRIENDSHIP DEVELOPS AND TONY INVOLVES MARGUERITE IN HIS QUEST FOR JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS IN ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE IN THE 50'S WHERE NONE EXISTS.  TONY AND MARGUERITE ARE PASSIONATE SOCIALISTS AND EVENTUALLY MOVE TO A NEW COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL TO PURSUE THEIR CAREERS WORKING UNDER A VISIONARY HEADMASTER WHOSE RADICAL IDEAS ARE MOST UNPOPULAR WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT.
THEN MARGUERITE MEETS JIMMY, A FORMER RAF BOMBER COMMAND PILOT ON A CND MARCH AND TONY FALLS IN LOVE WITH DONALD, A PRINCIPAL DANCER WITH THE ROYAL BALLET BUT THEY REMAIN CLOSE FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES.
THE BOOK EXPLORES ALL THE FAMOUS POLITICAL CAUSES AND CONFLICTS OF THE MID 20TH CENTURY ONWARDS AND ALTHOUGH IT COULD NOT BE DESCRIBED AS POLITICALLY IMPARTIAL IT IS TOTALLY ACCURATE IN ITS DEPICTION OF HOW THINGS WERE, HOW OUR LIVES GRADUALLY CHANGED WHAT WE DID AND WHAT WE WORE - EVERYTHING.
SHEILA HANCOCK HAS GOT A WONDERFUL EYE FOR DETAIL AND EAR FOR VOICES AND THE STORY IS ABSORBING.  I CARE DEEPLY ABOUT MARGUERITE AND TONY AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM
THANK YOU VERY MUCH MS HANCOCK

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