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
In 1942 Cassie Taylor leaves her grandmother's terraced home in Birmingham and takes up a post on a farm in Dorset to work as a land girl for the Denham family. Robert and Stephen Denham are twins, they're both at home recovering from injuries received at Dunkirk and although they look very much alike their personalities are completely different. Cassie immediately takes to Stephen with his relaxed, fun attitude to life. He is kind and makes her feel welcome, unlike Robert who is morose, constantly seems to be angry and believes Cassie should be sacked and sent home.
Robert slowly realizes that although she may be slight and not nearly as strong as Francis their family friend and the other land girl at the farm, Cassie is determined, brave and doesn't crumble at the first sign of difficulty. As Cassie settles in at their farm, Robert begins to fall for her and eventually tells her how he feels. Cassie is attracted to him, but soon after they discover their feelings for each other, Robert is called back into active service. Not wishing to miss out on the chance to see something of life and have a few adventures of her own, Cassie joins the ATS. They meet up in Egypt and become engaged, and although she doesn't every really think his family will accept someone from her background into their family, she can't help loving him. When Robert is reported missing, presumed dead, Cassie has to decide what to do next.
I loved the sense of the era throughout this novel, from Cassie's childhood growing up as an orphan in the slums of Birmingham to Robert's obvious upperclass heritage despite his family's reduced circumstances. We also see how hard it is for the Denham family trying to keep their farm going, while their adopted sister Daisy enjoys her luxurious lifestyle living as a famous actress in the West End of London. From Cassie's relationship with her intensely religious grandmother to Robert's closeness to his brother who he can tell also has feelings for the woman he loves and Cassie's secret concerns not only about their class differences, but also her knowledge that her grandmother is unlikely to accept a non-catholic for Cassie's husband.
This fast-paced story is about finding love in the most unexpected places, then losing it again and having to cope with an uncertain future, both for the person the main characters are in love with as well as their world around them. They have to cope with loss, jealousy and a fear that they won't find a way to be with the person they love.
The Penny Bangle is the third in the Denham Trilogy. I've loved each of the books and although they are obviously linked by the Denham family, each book can be read as a stand alone novel. The only sadness I have with these books is that this is the last of the trilogy. I would have loved to have another book in the series to look forward to.
The Penny Bangle is published by Choc Lit Publishing and is out this month. Choc Lit have kindly offered a large Victorian chocolate penny to one lucky person. So, if you want to be in with a chance of winning this delicious prize, please leave a 'pick me' comment and a winner will be chosen at random next Wednesday.