Monday, December 17, 2012

Homing - Elswyth Thane (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce - 1957)

Series: Williamsburg (Book 7)

When Evadne arrived at Williamsburg as Stephen Sprague's bride in the autumn of 1938, the long family history in the little Virginia town was a new and fascinating story to her. Evadne noticed that the portrait of Grandfather Julian's wife Tibby looked exactly like her own niece Mab, who had never been to Williamsburg, but who at thirteen knew the family chronicle by heart. In this, the 1938-41 volume, we find Evadne back at her warden's post in London; Stephen with his new mobile canteen; Jeff on his job under fire as much as any soldier, Sylvia sticking to her Animal First Aid post; Virginia at Farthingale; and Mab, too young to go for a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) but considering herself too old for evacuation, turning her back on the place she wanted most to be, because Jeff was in England, writing the blitz, and where Jeff was she had to stay.

This is my all-time favorite series of books.  I love family sagas and this one starts during the Revolutionary War with Dawn's Early Light and concludes with this book covering the first part of World War 2 in England.  This one starts with Stephen bringing his English bride home to meet his parents.  Evadne is from the English side of the family and not as familiar with all the family stories as her niece Mab is.  She is fascinated though slightly disturbed by Mab's resemblance to Tabitha Day, especially since cousin Jeff looks like Julian, but is married to someone else.  Upon their return to England, everyone is very careful not to make too much of Mab's fascination.  Those worries are overshadowed by the looming war as Hitler starts his takeover of Europe.  The historical snapshots of what life was like in England at this time are fascinating as they focus on individual contributions as well as the big picture.  Throughout the book there are fantastic stories of the way the British faced the impending war and then the actuality of the battles and air raids, but all with a personal and real feeling.  Everyone is affected in different ways and tragedy does not pass them by.  I have always loved the way that Mab has never hidden her feelings for Jeff and that everyone accepts it.  Even Jeff's wife is aware, but it has never made a difference to the way they deal with each other.  When multiple tragedies hit Mab, she and her grandmother Virginia go to Williamsburg, where Mab can begin to recover.  It gives a wonderful feeling of the story coming full circle.

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