My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 days on and off
Publisher - Arrow
Pages - 521
Blurb from Goodreads
Attractive, clever and wilful, Lily Knowles is desperate to leave home. So at twenty-one she escapes to London to train as a nurse, where she gathers many admirers - none more dashing than RAF officer Sandy Redfern, with whom she falls in love.
But the coming of war, with the chaos of the Blitz, brings upheavals and unforeseen entanglements. On hearing of Sandy's reckless affair with a married woman, a heartbroken Lily throws herself into her work. Then further changes in circumstances bring her to a busy RAF hospital in Hampshire, where a faithful childhood sweetheart persuades her to become engaged to him.
And then fate brings Sandy Redfern back into her life, physically scarred by burns and inwardly embittered. What of their once passionate love and her present commitment? Can the past ever be recaptured?
Lily Knowles is our main character, introduced to her in 1924 as a little girl and quickly moving on as she fast approaches her twenty first birthday. Lily wants away from home, the scruffy children, her father and step mother and runs toward her grandparents and a career in nursing. She meets RAF officer Sandy Redfern and finds herself torn between her career and putting Sandy first, particularly now the war is upon them. The tale goes across war time and a chance conversation presents an opportunity to revisit her lost love or finally get some closure.
Ugh, Lily is an infuriating character that I liked and hated in almost equal measures. A selfish young fool of a girl who embarks on a career of nursing, then the war starts and Lily is forced to grow up. She goes through quite a journey of self exploration and growth, the writing draws you in to experience the emotions young Lily endures and has to process.
Not only is this a story of personal growth, love, relationships, families & war, it also delves into some history. I love a book where I learn a little something as well as enjoying the story for what it is, the author has done her homework and details of nursing procedures, medical advances/developments at the time as well as events of war. This was my first time reading this author and I would absolutely read her again, I plan on looking up her other titles, 4/5 for me this time.