Fifty thousand Americans and their hardware parked in a rural English community of a thousand villagers, just a grudging step away from the Middle Ages, on the eve of the invasion of Europe. An effective recipe for mayhem, sex and espionage.
Part of Westwood’s series of novels about the Second World War, Mossingdene is a good read, an entertaining tale about life in a rural British village in 1943, as the Anglo-American invasion of France looms and American fliers from a nearby bomber base change the lives of the local inhabitants. Westwood’s series of novels are designed, in his words, to highlight “the ordinary people whose lives and destinies are distorted by war.”
So it is with the plot of Mossingdene, whose principal characters are three sisters whose parents are killed in a German bomb raid, leading them to move to the countryside, become entertainers, meet American boys and ultimately become caught up in a search for German spy. All the characters in the book are well-drawn, and the story unfolds through well-written dialogue that brings the characters, their feelings and motivations to vibrant life.
Westwood sprinkles his story with impressively accurate details about the war years, using in particular the music of the time to make the reader feel the emotional toll that the war had on those who lived through it; as Dot, the orphan-turned-singer whose story carries much of the narrative, observes in the climax of the story, everyone in Britain “saw the war” in all its horror and sadness.
Available in both Kindle and Nook format as an ebook, Mossingdene is highly recommended to any reader who likes a good story and war-related fiction.
Reviewed by: Terry Shoptaugh (2012)