Goodnight Sweetheart by Charlotte Bingham

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Goodnight Sweetheart by Charlotte Bingham

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Another reliable page-turner from Charlotte Bingham which tells of what happens at Chevrons when the Garland family go their very separate ways in the war years. Plucky and resourceful heroines and a story with a couple of twists. Recommended.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: September 2007
Publisher: Bantam Press
ISBN: 978-0593055939

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The Garlands have lived at Chevrons for centuries, but even before the Second World War events in Europe have touched the family. Katherine, the elder daughter, has not only run off with her boyfriend but they've espoused the Nazi cause to the horror of both families. As war breaks out Caro, the younger daughter, her friend Robyn and a couple of the maids leave the house to help the war effort in London. Chevrons is left to the men who cannot fight for their country.

Meanwhile, in London Caro and Robyn join the Nursing Yeomanry and spend their time driving ambulances and providing comfort and companionship to men who are conscious of the fact that their lives may be sacrificed at any time. Their friend Edwina catches the eye of the future Prime Minister and undertakes some work of a very delicate nature. Bombs fall all around them. The people they fall in love with all seem to be fated to die young.

It's a heart-warming story about the sacrifices that had to be made in the war years and proof, if proof were needed, that things are not always as they seem to be. The frenetic pace of life in the early nineteen forties is captured vividly with everyone 'doing their bit' in whatever way they can - and then dancing into the early hours.

Caro and Robyn are endearing and resourceful young women, born with silver spoons in their mouths and ready access to the flashiest of cars. Their lives are neatly contrasted with the war service given by Trixie and Betty, the former maids, fated to find work in a munitions factory and to live in less-than-perfect accommodation, before they too escape to more secret work.

This is very easy reading and a real page-turner. I thought that more could perhaps have been made of the war stories of the two sons of the family, which might have given the book a wider appeal. That's me being picky though. It's a story with plenty of colour and atmosphere and a couple of rather neat twists in the, er, tale! Charlotte Bingham doesn't write 'great literature' - she simply and reliably supplies the sort of book that readers of women's fiction enjoy and return to time after time.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag.

If this type of book appeals to you then you might also like to read Eliza Graham's Playing with the Moon which looks at what happens when the body of an American serviceman who died in the war is discovered some sixty years later.

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