Two frightened children, two very different mothers, and one night of terrifying Blitz bombing during World War Two. And when the bombs stop falling, which families' lives will be changed forever?
'Maggie Joel's The Safest Place in London is a beautifully written exploration of desperation and hope in a time of war. The novel captures the essence of the era with subtlety and style, while the shifting new world pushes characters to extreme lengths. A remarkable story of family, survival and how one decision can change lives for better or worse.' - Jane Harper, author of The Dry
On a frozen January evening in 1944, Nancy Levin, and her three-year-old daughter, Emily, flee their impoverished East London home as an air raid siren sounds. Not far away, 39- year-old Diana Meadows and her own child, three-year-old Abigail, are lost in the black-out as the air raid begins. Finding their way in the jostling crowd to the mouth of the shelter they hurry to the safety of the underground tube station. Mrs Meadows, who has so far sat out the war in the safety of London's outer suburbs, is terrified - as much by the prospect of sheltering in an Eastend tube station as of experiencing a bombing raid first hand.
Far away Diana's husband, Gerald Meadows finds himself in a tank regiment in North Africa while Nancy's husband, Joe Levin has narrowly survived a torpedo in the Atlantic and is about to re-join his ship. Both men have their own wars to fight but take comfort in the knowledge that their wives and children, at least, remain safe.
But in wartime, ordinary people can find themselves taking extreme action - risking everything to secure their own and their family's survival, even at the expense of others.
'Don't let the title fool you, there is nothing safe about Maggie Joel's writing. Transporting the reader from a bomb shelter in London's East End to the deserts of Egypt, Joel's eye for exquisite historical detail combined with her nuanced characterisation will keep the pages turning. With World War II as her canvas, Joel's interest in families is again at the forefront of her new novel. In The Safest Place in London family life can be every bit as dangerous and explosive as the devastated world outside.' - Aoife Clifford, author of All These Perfect Strangers
Maggie Joel has been writing fiction since the mid-1990s and her short stories have been widely published in Southerly, Westerly, Island, Overland and Canberra Arts Review, and broadcast on ABC radio. The Safest Place in London is her fourth novel, the previous titles being The Past and Other Lies, The Second Last Woman in England and Half the World in Winter.
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
Paperback - C format
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