Book Review: THE LAST TELEGRAM

“I send up a silent prayer that she will never know the dreary fear of war, when all normal life is suspended, when the impossible becomes ordinary, when every decision seems to be a matter of life or death, when good-byes are often for good.” Liz Trenow, THE LAST TELEGRAM

THE LAST TELEGRAM published today and is 347 pages. I was sent a galley for review consideration from the publisher because of my interest in historical fiction.

The novel begins in the present day at the funeral of Lily Verner’s husband, a man to whom she has been married for decades. When the elderly widow’s granddaughter discovers a trunk of letters, photographs, and old papers, Lily suddenly finds herself lost in memories of the past…

In the summer of 1938, Lily is a vivacious, headstrong young woman living on the grounds of her family home and her father’s lucrative silk mill in the British countryside.  As the war begins, her life becomes fraught with uncertainty. Her family takes in three Jewish German young men who have been relocated for their protection to work in the mills with the family, where they fulfill a new contract to create parachutes for the military. As the war looms closer to home and discoveries of love are made, Lily is put under tremendous strain. Decisions she makes in her business and relationships have long lasting consequences, and she wonders if she can ever heal from the pain of that time.

I’m a regular reader of WWII novels, and I’m endlessly interested in the portrayal of different people and places affected by the war. THE LAST TELEGRAM is yet another fascinating look at this terrible time in human history, with memorable characters, a compelling plot, and bittersweet satisfaction.

Fans of THE POSTMISTRESS or THE SOLDIER’S WIFE, will enjoy THE LAST TELEGRAM. It is an engaging and evocative debut, and I look forward to reading more by Liz Trenow.

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