A thrilling first novel - a big, wonderful, romantic wartime story - from the famous broadcaster and journalist. A debut at seventy-five years young.
It is 1942 and the war is not going well. As part of the war effort the Ashworth Grammar School for Girls signs up for the Merchant Navy s Ship Adoption Scheme. The headmistress, the lovely, essentially serious Cynthia Maitland, who lost her lover in the First World War, believes the idea will broaden the horizons of her girls, especially Polly and Jen, bright sixth formers eager to live and love despite it all.
All is as it should be in the line of duty until Captain Josh Percival and his officers of the SS Treverran visit Ashworth...The choices that follow will disrupt all their lives, reverberating even to the next generation, when, decades later, life and love are on the line again.
A poignant and pleasurable novel .
SUNDAY TIMES Penny Perrick
Bakewell delivers a warm, good humoured story of wartime relationships and a thrilling account of life and death on the convoys
GUARDIAN Rachel Hore
Marvellously exciting, heartbreaking, gruelling and an unexpectedly muscular and masculine treat in the middle of what is essentially a wistful romance . . . the outcome is poignant, romantic, deeply satisfying
DAILY EXPRESS Jennifer Selway
A beautifully evocative novel, full of romance, tragedy and the pull of family bonds .
SUNDAY EXPRESS Jane Clinton 4 stars
A strong, romantic plot and believable well-realised characters . . . Bakewell for the Booker
READERS DIGEST A N Wilson
Bakewell conjures up a cracking wartime atmosphere
DAILY MAIL Helen Brown
It is formidably researched and evokes real atmosphere
SAGA magazine Emma Soames
A well-crafted romantic yarn . . . an absorbing human tale
MAIL ON SUNDAY Max Davidson
A fascinating first novel
WATERSTONE S BOOKS QUARTERLY Lindsey Russell
Poignant and moving . . . Full of telling detail, love and longing, and all the pleasures of a black and white movie on a Sunday afternoon
NEW BOOKS MAGAZINE Linda Leatherbarrow
Well written and imbued with an air of authenticity
LONDON PAPER Lottie Moggach
Joan Bakewell was born in Stockport in 1933, the daughter of an engineer, granddaughter of working-class artisans. She was the first in her family to go to university and only the second woman from her grammar school to attend Cambridge, where her circle included Frederick Raphael, Peter Hall, Michael Frayn, Mark Boxer and Jonathan Miller. Her long and illustrious career in broadcasting has included being the only woman presenter on BBC TV's Late Night Line Up, being Arts Correspondent for Newsnight, Chair of the BFI, and presenting series such as Heart of the Matter and My Generation.