The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe

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The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Transporting and evocative, Diney Costeloe returns to the characters first introduced in The Girl With No Name and tells a beautifully written tale of love, lies and moving on.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: May 2017
Publisher: Head of Zeus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1784976125

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Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home. Meanwhile, the squire's fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming... and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne's past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life. For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry's return disrupts the village quiet and it's not long before gossip spreads. The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning...

Diney Costeloe published The Girl With No Name back in 2016, an evocative tale of life during the blitz, of evacuaton, family, romance and betrayal. The Married Girls picks up some years later, taking the characters and the reader to 1949. The post war years are ones I find immensely fascinating - the political uncertainty, the struggles to adjust to the vast social changes that took place during the war, and the populace wanting to celebrate the end of years of fear and uncertainty, only to find rationing still very firmly in place. Costeloe's great skill is in evoking a sense of time and place wonderfully - she transports the reader to a past that feels fully realised and three-dimensional, not to the romantisiced and idealised place that similar historical fiction books often exist in.

Characters too, are well realised here, with a story that flows naturally from The Girl With No Name but takes the characters into new and often rather surprising situations. Filled with drama of the kitchen sink variety, it's an emotional read compellingly written with conviction and skill. Charlotte is a fascinating character - her village life and personal struggles contrast well with those of another character, Harry as he reveals an altogether darker side to life. All the cast are fascinating here, shining a light on different issues but doing so in a very character driven way that makes for an endlessly interesting, easy read.

In fact, when reading a book that flows as well and as smoothly as this, it's rather easy to underestimate the vast amounts of work that must have gone into writing something like this - the level of period detail is immense, the prose crisp and very clear characters threads make it obvious that Costeloe had plans and goals in place for these characters from before she embarked on the books in this series. In fact, events during this book lead things very open for a third chapter in the lives of these fascinating characters, and I'll be very keen to catch up with them should that come to pass. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading, the first book of these, The Girl With No Name is a great place to start - I wouldn't say it's necessary to read it before opening The Married Girls, but you'll certainly embark on an intriguing journey with these characters should you start with the first book. As it stands, it's a beautifully written tale of WWII - moving and evocative.

Buy The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe at Amazon.com.


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