Two things historical fiction readers love: historical dramas brought to television,
usually by the BBC,
and series of books featuring the same characters and settings. In honor of
new fall historical series Home Fires, which highlights the women of one small
village and their
work to further the war effort in the opening days of World War II, we’ll look at three
authors who have
created series that also focus on Home Front England during war.
Ellie Dean pens the Beach View Boarding House series, currently up to Book Eight.
going setting and characters for this series are the South Coast seaside village of
Cliffehaven and the
boarding house run by warm-hearted Peggy Reilly and her family.
In Book 1, THERE’LL
SKIES, sixteen-year-old Sally is evacuated from London’s East End with her crippled
brother, Ernie. Frightened of what lies ahead, but knowing she must be brave and take
care of her
brother—a normal state of affairs, as their good-time-girl mother Florrie often leaves
them on their
own--Sally is relieved by the warm welcome given to them by the Reilly family. When she
to support them and pay for her brother’s expensive medicine, it seems life has improved
Florrie shows up, forcing Sally into a difficult decision.
In Annie Groves’s five-book Campion Family series, the scene shifts to wartime Liverpool,
characters are the siblings, children, cousins, friends and sweethearts of twin sisters
who grow up to
live very different lives.
The series begins with ACROSS THE MERSEY. Snobbish, wealthy Vi and her councilor husband
reside in the posher side of town north of the Mersey; friendly, open Jean and her
spouse live in the more modest area south of the river. But as war breaks out, both
sisters must face
agonizing decisions about whether to allow older children to enlist, or send younger
ones into the
country to safety. With all the traditional certainties of life upended, their younger
turns up unexpectedly, stirring up the past and creating even more havoc in their lives.
Helen Carey sets her three-book Lavender Road series in London itself. Inspired by
moving into an area of London in which there were several grand houses, but also newer,
working class homes that obviously had been rebuilt after bombing losses, she envisioned
that would contain a pub, shops, rows of working-class homes and two grand mansions, and
imagined the stories of the people who would dwell there.
coming of war intensifies the struggles of Joyce Carter to put food on the table, while
daughter Jen wants only to become an actress, or engage in trysts with her wild
boyfriend Sean. Pub
owner’s asthmatic daughter Katy Parsons hopes the war will prod her parents into letting
her train as
a nurse, and her rich neighbor’s naïve daughter, Louise Rutherford, sees the war as
romantic. Another neighbor struggles to resist her attraction to her handsome Irish
boarder as her
husband tries to cope with being declared unfit to serve.
The two succeeding volumes that follow the loves, struggles, triumphs and tragedies
inhabitants of Lavender Road are:
If you’ve become enthralled by the sights, sounds and stories of the embattled World War
home front with PBS’s Home Fires, be reassured that there are several book series
allow you to continue dwelling there. (And for those who’d like to continue a video
immersion in that
world, check out the excellent seven-part series Foyle’s War, starring the
After twelve years as a vagabond Navy wife, an adventure that took her from Virginia
Beach, VA, to
Monterrey, CA, to Tunis, Tunisia to Oslo, Norway and back, Julia Justiss followed
husband to his family's East Texas homeland. On a hill above a pond with a view of
pasture land, they
built an English Georgian-style home. Sitting at her desk there, if she ignores the
summer heat, she
can almost imagine herself in Jane Austen's Regency England.
In between teaching high school French and making jaunts to visit her three children (a
Gulfport, MS, a clothing buyer in Houston and a mechanical engineer in Austin, TX) she
first love—writing historical fiction.
Dominic Ransleigh lost more than his arm in battle—he lost his reason for living.
Returning to his
family seat, he shuns all society. If only his beautiful, plainspoken tenant, Theodora
so hard to ignore-
Since her fiancé's death on the battlefield, Theo's devoted herself to caring for
She's powerfully attracted to Dom, but knows all too well the consequences of
temptation. Is Theo,
who's survived so much, brave enough to reveal her secret to her handsome, wounded
All of these books sound good. I love reading Historical fiction from this time period, and having them take place from across the pond is an added plus!! Thank you for coming here today and letting us know about these books!! I've put them on my TBR list. (Peggy Roberson 3:08pm October 17, 2015)
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