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Summary

1945: WWII has gone on too long. A little girl, Pamela, is growing up fast. A young Englishman, Rupert Blundell, vows there’ll be no more wars.

1962: Rupert is now strategic advisor to Lord Mountbatten. Pamela is 18 and has moved to London, eager for love and experiences of every kind. But beneath the glamour, the Cuban missile crisis unfolds and the world spins ever closer to nuclear war.

©2014 William Nicholson (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"A profound and moving novel…tender and compassionate." (Guardian on Motherland)
"His particular gift is to take you inside the contemporary mind, tracing out trains of thought with astonishing agility, sensitivity, and honesty." (Spectator)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    4 out of 5 stars

Personal and international relationships after WWI

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of fictitious personal relationships against the backdrop of the momentous international crisis of the Cuban missile standoff between Kennedy and Khrushchev when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war. The history part is very familiar and written about by many authors. What this book adds is what it felt like for ordinary people who didn't know what was really going on behind the scenes.

There are three main threads in the book: the actual history of the time populated by politicians, military men and diplomats; a second storyline combining the imagined experiences of a precocious 18 year old character, Pamela, if she had been taken up by Stephen Ward’s louche set, including Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice Davis and the Russian attache Ivanov. The third thread of a child, Mary, in small village in Ireland having visions and messages from Jesus, at first seemed a strange diversion from the main thrust of the book. However, after a time Mary became part of the larger picture.

The book got better and better as it progressed. It’s thought-provoking in its themes of love and desire and of mistrust, bravado and pride at the personal and international level.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting strands of narrative

Some interesting characters and ideas but I was very frustrated by the ending which seemed to just finish sans conclusion for some of the main characters. Worth reading but nothing to rave about.

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Good listen

Very enjoyable book well read and evocative of the time it portrayed. The issue of sexual consent was thoughtfully tackled.