This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
REVIEWED BY DEBS CARR
Millie Ash lives in grinding poverty with her family in the backstreets of London's East End. She has always hoped to find a way to improve her life, but it's only when she runs away from home and is taken in by the Green family that she truly discovers what is possible. Jane Green is disabled and Millie becomes her companion. She sees for the first time what it's like to live in a clean home where everyone is respected and well-cared for. Her relationship with Jane's brother, Richard, begins as one of teasing and slowly develops into something more cherished, until Millie makes a decision that ends in tragedy and her life changes drastically once again.
Dee Williams vividly depicts the unrelenting fear, insecurity and squalor that Millie is born into and has had to cope with her whole life. From the brutality Millie receives at the hands of her bullying father to her frustration with her worn down, lacklustre mother who wants to defend her children, but can't find the strength to do so. There's a futility in Millie's life that only a character can overcome.
Jane Green's parents allow her freedom of choice due to the guilt they feel towards her disability and we later discover the source of this constant anguish. The relationship between the two girls is very balanced. Jane, who has everything she could wish for materially, but is physically damaged and Millie, who is emotionally scarred by her past, but gratefully aware of the chance her new friend has given her.
Millie understands her place and limitations both romantically and in every other aspect of her life, from the career she wants to succeed in so badly to any romantic attachments she makes. She is befriended and then let down by people, but is determined to find a way to keep going and make a decent life for herself as a nurse. I particularly enjoy reading novels set before and during the Great War and especially books as well researched as this one.
A heartwrenching story with an emotionally satisying ending.
MORE ABOUT DEE WILLIAMS