Spring 1919: WW1 is over and a fragile peace has descended over the country. Now living in Cambridge with husband Edmond, Amy Derwent is settling into her new life as wife and mother to little Beth. But the shadow of the Great War looms large, particularly as the injuries Edmond sustained at Ypres still take their toll on him today.
Edmond’s cousin, Vicky, has now grown into a fine young woman, eager to help her country. Throwing off her privileged background to train as a nurse, she spends her days tending to the many soldiers still suffering the after-effects of their time on the battlefield.
Meeting Maxim Duclos, a young Frenchman who has arrived in Larchbury, fills her heart with joy – but when it is discovered that Maxim may be hiding the truth about his past, Vicky is faced with an impossible choice. Follow her heart’s desire and risk her family’s disapproval or keep her family – but deny herself the chance of true love?
The war may be over, but Edmond, Amy and Vicky must all face a new battle, finding their own peace in a country wounded by loss.
If only it’ll stay fine today, Vicky thought. The weather had been poor for most of the year so far. As her train steamed towards Larchbury there were light clouds moving fast across the sky. She was wearing her best hat, decorated with silk flowers, and a lemon lawn dress with a pattern of white daisies. A thin white jacket would provide some protection if it rained, but how could she bear to dress for poor weather on this day of celebration? She had gratefully accepted her aunt and uncle’s invitation to join them at The Beeches.
She yawned. Matron had reluctantly allowed her the day off, but the hospital was quite full, as there were still a few war wounded making a slow recovery, and the occasional case of Spanish flu. She had been obliged to stay late the previous evening before heading to her iron bedstead in the nurses’ hostel.
I knew nursing wouldn’t be a glamorous profession, she told herself sternly. Amy warned me the work is liable to be gruelling, even now the war is over. She was wearing lacy gloves this afternoon, but beneath them her hands were becoming red from hard work. When she managed to go home to her parents on the occasional weekend, they sometimes looked at her and asked what she was thinking of, beginning such a demanding vocation.
At Larchbury she alighted and left the station, walking along the street in the pale sunshine. Before long she could hear a commotion from The Farmers. Union Jacks were festooned across its porch. There was a neat garden at the front and today it was crowded. There were many people enjoying the peace celebrations and the patrons of the inn were spilling out of the interior. There were tables full of men who would have been too old to fight, and rowdy groups of younger men, some showing signs of injury, who had been recently discharged from their units.
I hope they’re not all going to the fête at The Beeches, she thought. She seemed to remember that her aunt had told her they had reluctantly decided to restrict the welcome to friends and prominent villagers, issuing invitations. The mayor had arranged for tables and chairs to be set out on the village green for others who were eager to celebrate together.
As she passed the inn, two soldiers in scruffy uniforms were involved in an altercation. It was only early afternoon but already they seemed drunk. A dark-haired, young waiter was urging them in slightly accented English to behave decently.
‘For years we’ve been ordered around!’ one complained, rising to his feet. ‘Sent to fight by young officers straight from school who had no idea what orders to give – sent to fight against impossible odds!’
His friend nodded in agreement. The first man limped as they rushed towards the street. As he passed a table laden with glasses he knocked some to the floor. This table was crowded with middle-aged and older men, who shook their fists as their unfinished drinks landed on the ground, the glasses smashing.
Vicky hovered, keeping her distance as the soldiers ran past, and on down the High Street. Shocked glances followed them.
Thank you, Rosemary Goodacre and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Rosemary Goodacre is thrilled to have a three book deal with Hera Books. Her World War I romance Until We Meet Again was published on 31/10/19.
Previously Rosemary has had a novella published, entitled A Fortnight is not Enough, and a science fiction story in the anthology Telescoping Time.
Rosemary has always loved languages and travel, mainly in Europe. In her spare time she enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives in Kent, England.
It is with great sadness, I need to inform you that Rosemary Goodacre passed away last month. We’re honouring her memory with her last book and blog tour, finishing off the trilogy that she leaves as a legacy.
I’m not including her social media for this reason