‘Angels At War’ tells the story of the Angel sisters in the turbulent years of 1910 to 1918. I had anticipated that this book would be a light read yet, although the writing is not overly heavy or verbose, this is not a simple historical romance of girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy again. Those elements are a part of this novel, but it goes on to be much, much more.
The Angels are sisters (their story begins in ‘House Of Angels’ although ‘Angles at War’ can be read as a stand-alone novel). The characters are well drawn and have depth; all with their good points and their bad, their strengths and weaknesses. The plot is intriguing and moves at a good pace, encouraging you to turn the page and keep reading.
What I was not expecting from this novel was such a masterly handling of the social and political history of the time, which Ms Lightfoot tells through the narrative without the reader ever feeling that they are being lectured to. The description of a turn of the century department store is intriguing, and its modernisation during the novel fascinating. Reading what happened to the suffragettes during their fight for emancipation is enlightening and humbling – the marches and arrests, the prisons and force-feeding are cleverly woven into the story. The description of the work of the VAD’s in hospitals, both in England and on the front line in France, is gripping.
This book seems to have everything, from the excitement of war to everyday domestic life, from male domination to female emancipation, from jealousy to love. Livia is a strong central character whose choices in life are often not the right ones, leading to unhappiness for herself and others. But her choices are always made for the right reasons, in an effort to help those she loves and, as such, she is an endearing character. I think many readers will recognise a lot of themselves in Livia, or one of her sisters.
This book, for me, was a pleasant surprise, which is something I always like. If you are interested in the past but don’t like a heavy history book – or a novel that reads like one – you will find ‘Angels At War’ informative and enlightening, yet entertaining and easy to read. I will certainly be buying more books by Ms Lightfoot.
‘Angels at War’ can be found on Amazon
For other books I have enjoyed please visit my ‘Book Review’ page