Book Review: War Babies by Annie Murray

This week I'm celebrating Historical Fiction Week on the blog, so I thought it would be the perfect time to read this novel set during WWII that has been patiently waiting on my shelf for a few months already. Have a look at my thoughts here: 

Title: War Babies
Author: Annie Murray
Published: April 9th 2015 by Pan
Amazon | Amazon UK

Blurb: Rachel Booker has a difficult start in life. When her father dies, deep in gambling debt, her mother must harden herself to make ends meet, but becomes so hard she has little room left for affection or warmth. Mother and daughter work at the open market in Birmingham, selling second-hand clothes or whatever they can find just to put a little food on the table.

But the market has a silver lining: it's there that Rachel makes her first childhood friend, Danny. As they grow older, the friendship grows into something more and their innocent romance gives Rachel the care and comfort she's always craved. But at just sixteen, as World War II breaks out, Rachel falls pregnant. They marry in haste but it isn't long before Danny is called up.

Left on the homefront with a new baby and little else, Rachel must scrape by with the other residents of Sparkbrook. But if Danny ever makes it home, will he be the same boy she loved so fiercely? And if Rachel can sustain the family until then, will she end up as hard-hearted as her own mother?

War Babies is a moving and insightful novel about hardships on the homefront and how the war changed everybody it touched...

First of all I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: War Babies tells the story of Rachel Booker. When the novel starts, she is only a little girl who has just lost her father. Because of that, her mother has now to take care of them both, something that she finds hard and unfair and soon Rachel becomes more of a burden than a loved daughter. Rachel's childhood is not an easy one so when she meets Danny on the market they both work, he becomes her ray of sunshine. 

As the story progresses, Rachel grows older and as Danny reenters her life, their relationship becomes more serious and stronger too. But soon, war breaks out and Rachel finds herself with a baby and no husband to help her. Reading about Rachel's life during those long war years, it was easy to forget she was still a teenager. We watched her grow "old" way too fast, with too many responsibilities and too little help. Luckily, Danny's aunt and their neighbours were a great support for them, especially for Rachel who was faced with one problem after another. 

I think that I enjoyed the first part of the story (seeing Rachel grow and the start of her relationship with Danny) more than the second part (all the war years) as I felt that this second part dragged a bit too much and the whole situation made me really sad, plus there were some new characters that I didn't like at all. Something I did enjoy in this part was the camaraderie that you could feel between neighbours and also how Rachel never gave up and became such a strong character.

But all in all, I found this story interesting and entertaining, especially if you are curious about women's life during the war. Plus, I've just found out there's a sequel for this story, one I would really like to read to see how Rachel and her clan's lives continue after war. 

Rating: 4 stars

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