Since I am a devoted fan of all things about World War II, I could not resist downloading “The Chalky Sea” by Clare Flynn. A native of Liverpool, England, Ms. Flynn has written a wonderfully descriptive novel of the war as experienced on some of the towns and cities on the coast of England.
Gwen and Roger Collingwood has a less than romantic marriage. Because of an incident in Gwen’s life as a child, she keeps her emotions to herself, not allowing herself to care. Their home is in Eastbourne, near the cliffs of Dover. Nazi bombing comes to their area with Gwen being a part of the Women’s Voluntary Service, she helps those who have lost everything. Roger, her husband, is part of an intelligence agency and she has no idea where he is stationed. Her goal is to carry on, with her prickly attitude influencing everything she does.
Jim Armstrong lived on his parents’ farm in Ontario, Canada. As a farmer, he was not liable for conscription. However, he did entertain thoughts that he should sign up to help defeat the enemy. He was engaged to be married in a year to a childhood friend. His life seemed predestined. However, one small problem…his fiancée was in love with his brother. When he found them together, he lost it. He fled to Toronto, enlisted in the Canadian army. He was sent to England and billeted with Mrs. Collingwood. Both of them were broken souls and eventually helped each other mend. Jim also met Joan and after being together, he found that Joan was pregnant, and married her before he shipped out. What happens next is found in the next novel in the series, “The Alien Corn”.
I love the way this book is written. Even though war is upon them, the characters in the story find that life goes on and that one must adapt to it or perish emotionally, spiritually, and physically.