FICTION

V for Victory

Harper. May 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780063059832. $24.99. F
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.ife did not improve much for Londoners in the last year of World War II. Rockets continued to fall and leave a path of destruction in their wake, while privations and food rationing played havoc with everyday survival. But things are looking up for Noel Bostock and Vera Sedge, the endearingly wily pair last seen in Evans’s Crooked Heart. Vera, now posing as Noel’s aunt Margery Overs, has acquired a veneer of respectability, running a boarding house in the large home left to Noel by his former guardian, the redoubtable Mattie Simpkin (last seen in Old Baggage). Also making a welcome return is Winnie Crowther, an air-raid warden, who once belonged to Mattie’s Amazons, an outdoor education club for girls. Fortunes change again for Vera, whose favorable testimony spares an American GI from a possible jail sentence, and for Noel, who has a meeting with a sketchy character that provides a clue to his origins.
VERDICT In our own troubled times, it can’t hurt to be reminded of the spirit and resilience of those who endured a world at war. With warmth and humor to spare, this book is a balm.
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