Sep 25 2006
Dear Mrs. Sherwood,
I’m just a sucker for books/movies/documentaries on WWII. Good was good, evil was just that and people seemed willing to make any sacrifice for the war effort. “Wave Me Goodbye” shows us the lengths to which the ordinary citizen went to do his or her part for final victory.
Cilla Watson, along with every other Briton, is already doing her part to win the war. But since over half of her school girls have been evacuated to the countryside or overseas, she feels she could do more. Her longtime neighbor, Ted Evans, is appalled at what she decides. Ted is in the Royal Navy and knows exactly how dangerous the North Atlantic is. Packs of German U-boats roam looking for convoys to torpedo and he is sick thinking of Cilla traveling to Canada as a chaperon for a boatload of evacuee children. But nothing he says or does, including asking her to marry him, will change her mind.
Cilla can understand Ted’s fears, and even shares them, but she’s made a commitment and won’t back out of it. Someone needs to be with these young and frightened children leaving their homes and families. And hasn’t the government sent letters to the children’s parents assuring them that the ship will have Royal Navy escort across the Atlantic? When events place Ted on board the ship, she’s not sure whether to be happy for a chance to spend more time with him or exasperated when he continues to question her judgment. But when a torpedo slams into the ship and the lifeboat launches go horribly wrong, survival looks grim for everyone.
As I was reading the story, I kept being impressed by the period “feel” of the characters and events. Little details and speech mannerisms put the reader in the scenes but there’s never an overabundance of facts that sometimes signals an author’s attempt to include too much historical data. The episodes in the lifeboats are heartbreaking, showing both the highs and lows of humanity, but never feel overdramatized. Events towards the end of the story did seem a bit surreal but as I see you’ve based it on a real life event, I have to conclude that this is a time when the truth *is* stranger than fiction.
Readers looking for a character centered story that isn’t sidetracked by unnecessary subplots would do well to check this story out. It’s got humor, drama, danger and a HEA. What more could readers want? B+ for this one.