Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Chalky Sea by Clare Flynn

Reviewer : Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore, False Lights & Sacred Lake. (

What we thought: A well crafted WWII story of love, loss and acceptance. We follow twin stories of Jim from Canada and Gwen from Eastbourne, UK. Poles apart in terms of their lives before the war, both haunted by memories and tragedies of the past ... and both of them about to experience passion for the first time in their lives in the most unlikely of circumstances.

The two threads run separately for two thirds of the novel, but there’s a rich intensity in knowing that at some point the character’s paths will cross. And when Jim runs away from home and joins the army, he’s soon sent, via a training camp in Aldershot, to the UK town of Eastbourne to help with the coastal defences.

Gwen is alone in a large house, her husband away at war, and finds herself helping others for the first time in her life - and feeling more useful than she has ever felt. She takes in a homeless family bombed out of their home, and soon finds herself housing three Canadian soldiers – one of them being Jim.

The story is told at a gripping and emotive pace, with highs and lows, and with attention of detail and location accuracy that added another level to the book. By the end, I was desperate to know if either of the characters would get the happy ending they deserved – and I’m delighted there’s a sequel for us to enjoy too.

If you’re a fan of romantic drama and historical fiction, this is one not to be missed.

You’ll enjoy this if you like : Maggie Hope, Pam Howes, Grace Thompson.

Avoid if you don’t like : Wartime stories.

Ideal accompaniments: Corned beef and mash with half a pint of Mild.

Genre : Historical.

Available on Amazon

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