Its 1939 and as Britain prepares for war with Germany, the lives of five young women are about to collide in the sleepy Sussex village of Crowmarsh Priors.
New Orleans belle Evangeline Fontaine has eloped with a handsome English naval officer as a mean of following her true love to France.
Alice Osbourne, jilted by Evangeline's husband, is resigned to a life as the village spinster.
Elsie Pigeon has only known life in London's East End but at fifteen finds herself evacuated to Crowmarsh Pruors as a maid for the forbidding Lady Marchmont.
Young Jewish bride Tanni Joseph has fled Austria with her husband and arrives in the village with her newborn son, not knowing if her family are alive or if she will ever see them again.
Frances Falconleigh, madcap debutante, is sent in disgrace to her see out the war with her grandmother, Lady Marchmont, but her high spirits ultimately lead her into danger when she tries to help her friend Tanni.
Together they will face hardship, passion and danger, forming bonds of friendship that will inspire a desperate plan. And fifty years later, an act of revenge...
To begin with this novel held my interest and I enjoyed the way it was written from each of the five women's perspectives. I did however feel that the ending was perhaps a little rushed! I thoroughly enjoyed discovering what each of the girls were up to in their lives at such a trying time in history, all of their lives varied and and me being a big enthusiast of world war two it was such a delightful lighthearted read. Surprisingly I wasn't very much aware of the Women's Volunteer Service (WVS), I was only aware of the women having to take the men's jobs (such as engineering, farming etc) while they were away on the battlefields. Among all this, the five girls had their own secret mission- it held suspense but I felt the ending was perhaps a little too uncluttered! This book demonstrates how at the time of war, if you wanted something to happen you had to take the chance while it was there because you'd never know if the opportunity would rise again. For example "rushed" marriages during the war between people who were practically strangers, it was very live in he moment kind of vibes which was spontaneous and in a way rather wonderful! Perhaps not quite the message the author wanted to bring out of this novel, but its certainly made me realise that the saying "life is too short" is absolutely spot on.