Set in the First World War, it’s really Florence’s story. At 29, unmarried and with painful memories on her mind, Florence, her sister Nell and Nell’s five children flee East London to escape daylight bombing raids.
The first in history – this is 1917! They find refuge in the North Essex town of Halstead set in the tranquil Colne Valley.
Florence enrols as a member of the Women’s Land Army, founded in 1917 when England was, it is said, three weeks from starvation. She learns to milk cows, drive a horse-drawn plough, deliver lambs and dig potatoes – a far cry from her London job in a bookshop. In Green Pastures is in part a homage to the largely unsung work of the WLA in WW1, but it is a lot more besides. We suffer with Wilf, almost broken by his war experience, we meet Holger, a good German, and we smile with Nell’s children enjoying the freedom of the countryside.
It is ultimately a feel-good story and prizes positive human qualities and humanity in vivid contrast to the brutality of war. And there is romance…
Available at Waterstones and Amazon.
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