Dear Mrs Munro,
While I’m not a recent Ellora’s Cave virgin like Janine, I’m still not a “rode hard and put up wet” veteran either. Since my tastes don’t run to BDSM, a lot of EC offerings leave me less than enthused about trying them. But your book with its mix of history and tenderness fits my criteria nicely.
Margo Harrington and her flatmates, fellow WAAFs, are out on the town in war torn London. Just for a night they want to forget air raid sirens, bombs, rationing and the war. While dancing with a young soldier, Margo thinks for a second that she saw Johnnie, her first love and the man her parents made her give up. At the end of the dance, he does appear, cutting in on the other man and dancing Margo away. Since she was the one to break off their relationship, Margo is unsure of how he will react. One thing she’s learned in the 6 months since Johnnie went away to war is that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone and she has to live up to her new resolve to grow a backbone and tell him now she really feels.
Johnnie was devastated when Margo ended things. Now he’s back on a short leave and determined to seize the chance to be with the woman he still loves. The two decide to walk outside to talk but the air raid sirens catch them too far away from the club to make it back. Hurriedly, they find an Anderson home shelter and take refuge there. Now, with the prospect of a night alone and a possible German bomb ending things, they finally talk and love as they’ve longed to. But come morning, can they face up to family, friends and the glaring social gap between them to keep what they discover?
Despite it’s short length, I had a great feel for war torn London and a bombing raid. I liked the little details you included from the description of the home shelter Johnnie and Margo find refuge in to Margo’s plain white bra and victory hairstyle. La Perla it wasn’t.
The brevity of short stories often leave me wondering about a couple’s HEA. For me, novellas usually work better when a couple is reuniting as was the case here. I completely bought their love for each other and was happy that they seem more like 1940s people than 2007 people. I thought the love scenes were nicely done with a touch of awkwardness and eagerness on the part of Margo, the virgin. I could tell that Johnnie loves her by the care he took during the night. Oh and thanks for not having Margo’s first time end in skyrockets of joy. With a little help, she ends up enjoying things but the earth didn’t move and the angels sing as some stories try to make me believe.
I do have a few niggles. Some of the vocabulary didn’t seem period. For instance, the terms underwear and pussy. Wouldn’t they have used knickers and quim? Also, early in the story, you tell us she is Lady Margo Harrington yet at the end her mother is referred to as Mrs. Harrington. Nah, I don’t think so.
Still, I enjoyed watching the gardner’s son find happiness with his upper-class love. And learning that not all EC books contain BDSM, werewolves, vampires or a combination thereof. B for “Unforgettable.”