The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Historical fiction is tricky, but Ms. Trenow does it well: no Major Historical Figures appear, so there's no implausible interaction happening. We open with Lily's husband's funeral and the cleaning out of the house (so she can give it to her son and daughter). Her niece, Emily, helps out and happens to mention that she's going the parachute jump to raise money; that plus the finding of a locked suitcase start Lily's memories of her life during World War II. During that time, her family took in three German Jewish refugees, part of the Kindertransport, and the family silk business turned from rep ties and fashionable cloth to parachute silk. We also learn about her love life, her friendships and how the war affects her family and the business.
There's nothing shocking here, nor is there anything incredibly exciting. That's not a bad thing, and the quiet nature of people going about their lives and the changes that the war brought to them (and the role of women) was appreciated. The characters were representative of a certain type and class (although there is a range of both explored) and there were few false notes in those characterizations.
ARC provided by publisher.