In the Bleak Midwinter by Carol Rivers
THIS CHRISTMAS, SHE'LL FIGHT TO KEEP HER FAMILY TOGETHER
Birdie is trying to keep everything together since her mother died after having her brother Pat. Her father Wilfred is coughing so much it is now causing him to have seizures, but won’t go to the doctor. Her brother Frank is in prison having been accused of desertion during the war.
One evening she looks out of the kitchen window when she thinks she sees a shadow in the yard. When she goes outside a hand is put over her mouth to stop her screaming, but she hears Frank’s voice in her ear.
When she speaks to him he tells her that he has escaped from prison to try to get to France to prove his innocence as he didn’t desert his post.
Birdie tries to go on doing her day to day chores by dressmaking to earn a living and dreaming of the day she marries her fiancé Don.
Don and his mother run a local shop which is neither clean or value for money. His mother Aggie is always trying to save a few pennies and thinks nothing of ripping off the customers with food that is well past its’ sell-by-date!
Birdie comes from a very strict Irish catholic family and dreams of having the big white wedding in the local catholic church, as does her father because he knows it was her mother’s wish, but Don and his mother have other ideas and think a quick register office “do” with some sandwiches after will do the trick – all in good time to open the shop again in the afternoon!
Meanwhile Frank gets involved with some undesirables who are hiding him away, but are they doing it for the right reasons?
Bridie confides in her friend Flo about her upcoming marriage to Don, but she doesn’t think he is worthy of her and tries to make her see sense.
Harry is Bridie’s lodger and when she tells him of Frank’s predicament, he is more than happy to help her find him to declare his innocence, but does he have an ulterior motive to be near to Bridie?
I have read many of Carol River’s books and this is up there with the best. It has everything you need from a wartime saga including love, loss, happiness, sadness and everything else in between!
A great read for any saga lover.