By Ellie Dean
Arrow, paperback, £5.99
This is Ellie Dean at her best and Peggy Reilly, the landlady with heart, at her most understanding in another Second World War saga.
Ellie’s younger sister, Doreen, is divorced from her violent husband Eddie and working for the Ministry of Defence in Kent while her two children are being looked after as evacuees in Wales.
But when Doreen visits a London hotel and spends a few days with the new man in her life, Archie, a sailor, their leaving is cut short by an air raid warning. As they rush to cover down the still unfinished Bethnal Green underground station they are separated in the dim lighting and Doreen is injured as hundreds of people struggle to escape down the stairs.
She discovers that Archie is killed, along with 173 other people and children and is given time off work to recuperate from the trauma.
Going to her sister at Beach View, Cliffhaven, to recover she makes the mistake of giving jewellery and money to her former husband when he discovers where she is and threatens to take away the children.
How Peggy’s father, Ron, outwits Eddie adds a touch of humour to an otherwise tense story, as does his distribution of a pig, bred and killed in secrecy, particularly as it affects Peggy’s rich, haughty sister.
Another well researched and cleverly written novel with a final, cleverly moving twist at the end as Doreen tries to sort out her life.