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Posted 20 hours ago

Flatlands

£9.9£99Clearance
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The lighthouse setting was inspired by the one that Sir Peter Scott lived in for a while and where he set up his first bird sanctuary. The independent-minded quarterly magazine that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. The plight of evacuee children such as Freda sent away from their homes to live with strangers and the uncertainty associated with the same is at times difficult to read. Philip and Freda are outsiders, one by his choice of pacifism and the other by her circumstances, who struggle to survive as WW2 breaks out in Europe.

For survivors, memories of the wartime years have become “a patchwork of events etched across our hearts”, thinks Freda. It is often heartbreaking, but it highlights the importance of small acts of love, of faith, of trying to do the right thing, and shows how these can transcend and outweigh oppression and hate. The marshlands beautifully described, the character’s inner lives flayed open with great sensitivity. After a railroad trip, she is taken up in the flatlands of Britain by a family paid by the government to shelter her. It’s not a happy tale but it does celebrate the steadfastness of two people who struggle against grim situations to find a fulfilment of sorts.I had to look up almost all of the clothes -- didn't know what they were for sure and in a long list couldn't let them all just drift by! Philip is a young man conflicted with anxieties and doubts about his relationships with Jess and her brother Peter. Their paths cross when Freda, clearly under nourished, turns up at his door seeking help with an injured goose. Young Freda is last to be picked and finds herself living with a grim-faced and abusive farming family, eking out a bleak existence on what seems like the edge of the world. There, deprived of any warmth, she meets a young man - Philip Rhayader -a conscientious objector who has left Oxford and his prospective vocation in the church following a nervous breakdown.

It’s a novel of reminiscence that drifts back and forth between time zones and the two main protagonists, Freda and Philip . In this sensitive but very slow-moving and unrelentingly sombre story, Freda’s and Philip’s paths cross. Friendless, loveless and deeply hurt, she stumbles into an abandoned lighthouse which has become home to 27-year old Phillip, a conscientious objector consumed by the horrors of war, who’s abandoned his studies at Oxford to seek agricultural labour while he explores his love of painting. This was different from the other historical fiction novels set during WWII in that it's not a typical love story - the characters are Freda who's 13 and Phillip who is 23 so they don't have a physical love affair but rather a bond of the soul. I also feel as though the setting was very descriptive/specific, to the point where it could lose someone who's unfamiliar with the whereabouts of cities or places in England.To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Not long after she arrives in the Fens, she finds a goose whose one wing appears to be hanging at a strange angle, she reaches out to touch it, but the goose hisses at her, but she knows she can’t just leave it there, and so she heads to the lighthouse to see if she can get help. It it turned out the whole book was like that -- Hubbard seemed to understand everything about England at that time and the way she wrote about attitudes, material possessions, class distinctions, native animals, scenery, etc. The poignancy of being elderly without family contrasts with her life without her parents during her evacuation.

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