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Monday, September 5, 2011

Blitz by Sue Perkins

Blitz by Sue Perkins
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical (WWII)
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 5 Books
Review by Snapdragon

Velma’s large family refuse to accept she is now a young woman. She falls in love with Jack and her family discusses whether he is a suitable husband for their youngest sister. She is determined to show her siblings she is now an adult and can make her own decisions.

World War II is declared. The engaged couple are forced to cancel their white wedding only days before the service. This puts a strain on the relationship between Jack and Velma. She must choose whether to let Jack go to war as a single man, or to marry in a registry office without the support of family and friends. Can Velma survive the worry of Jack being at the front? Will it be easier to cope if they are married?

World War II era novella Blitz evokes emotion from the first. Jack and Velma’s first meeting might have been antagonistic, but humor gets the better of them, and suddenly all these possibilities open up before them. The opening chapter is like a first kiss – a momentary awkwardness, a flicker of hope, and then, oh yes, the promise of so much more. We readers want to rush ahead into this relationship, every bit as much as Velma does. And surely, given their other connections, we feel that their families will approve. However, this is not a usual time, and something will soon intercede.

Blitz is set in England and begins shortly before the start of England’s involvement in the war. Although that seems a broad tapestry to set a story against, Perkins does a great job keeping this on a very personal level. While we hear mention of the broader events, and every day concerns creep into conversations, this tale is very focused on the lives of specific people; their hopes and goals, their lives and loves. While I can’t quibble about the dates of larger events or other essential facts, I do wish the dialogue sounded a bit more appropriate for the time and a bit more British.

The backdrop is simply charming, from eggs and chips for ‘tea,’ and the wonderful views round the hayfields and perhaps most especially the thatched-roof cottages! Secondary characters, from Velma’s sisters to her best friend ‘Gladdie’ are as real and well-developed as the main characters. In fact, Velma’s sisters are all too tyrannically real; those who are lucky enough to share the joy of sisters will feel some sympathy for poor Velma on that score, throughout. It is not easy, being the youngest! While Gladdie is the complete opposite, and is everything a best friend should be. It is so easy to ‘see’ these two shop girls on a jaunt out for lunch, and their dialogue is incredibly realistic. Velma’s feelings, her doubts and fears – all equally realistic. We’ve all felt them.

Blitz by Sue Perkins is everything a romance should be, and then… the war arrives. It is as you suppose: the blackouts, fear, bombing, but also, much much more. Perkins never loses sight of her characters, their goals, or the truth of their feelings.

Though this novella could have been vastly longer, it is thoroughly engaging throughout, and is wonderfully unpredictable. Fans of the era will particularly love this one.