Just finished reading Barbara Erskine's Darkest Hour. It is set in the present and the 1940s, the latter a period that has never appealled to me. Still doesn't, but it didn't stop me enjoying the book. The last Erskine I read I grabbed with eager anticipation because it featured ghostly Viking ships on the River Debden, but found it a sad let down.
Not this one. Darkest Hour has a good vengeful ghost and some secrets to discover before the last page. My only quibble is that I'm surprised that Evie didn't go and see a lawyer about retaining the rights on her own work long before she did, but I suppose in the 1940s women were not so confident about launching out on their own.
Modern perceptions sometimes overlay those of the last and earlier generations. It has been commented many times that lighter romances have heroines who do all sorts of things that no self-respecting female of the times would have dared to do, A friend explained recently that she thought the mindset of the tv Midwife series had started out very well but that now they were up to the sixties, she thought the writers were going astray in their portrayal of the mindset of the times. (I cannot comment because I never watch it, but I found my friend's comments interesting. )There are lots of people alive today who lived through the fifties and sixties and know very well how everyone thought. That must make it difficult for writers of a later generation, because everything is so loose now, to get the right feel for what went on in their parents and grandparents day when there were so many restrictions. Adults who lived through the sixties are sure to put their hands in the air and say No! That's not how it was.
To get back on track - There was nothing outrageous in Darkest Hour, but I was mildly surprised that Evie was sleeping with both her lovers, but then I suppose wartime - heightened senses and all that. Strange though, that she didn't love Eddie, and yet still slept with him and nothing much was made of it by the author. Also strange that Eddie never went in the army though he was only 29, with no explanation offered - unless I missed the one important sentence!
Tiny caveats in a thoroughly enjoyable novel. It was half past one when I finally turned out the light and went to sleep.