The Victory Garden

Lake Union: Amazon. Feb. 2019. 385p. ISBN 9781542040129. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781542040112. $14.95. F
OrangeReviewStarThis latest historical novel from Bowen (Farleigh Field; Tuscan Child) opens with a letter from Emily Bryce to her friend Clarissa, who's serving as a nurse in France during World War I. Emily is eager to join the war effort, but her parents are keeping her at home. It isn't long before she meets an "unsuitable" recuperating Australian pilot and falls in love. After her 21st birthday, she joins the Women's Land Army and leaves home, continuing the relationship until he's sent back into battle in France. Readers witness the British class system on the brink of change, and the bonding that steers the "land girls" through challenges of life and the war, as they learn farming skills, finally landing in a small village to help an arrogant and lonely aristocrat restore her estate. Tragedies strike, yet people grow and pull together in this rewarding romantic historical romp.
VERDICT Lovers of history will better understand the sacrifices in England during the Great War, while romance fans will revel in the engagement and growth of the characters. Another great read from the award-winning author.
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