10/10/2007

The Victory Club (by Robin Lee Hatcher)

I very much enjoyed some of Robin Lee Hatcher's novels which I read about a year ago. So I was pleased to see her latest book in a Christian library I was visiting.

'The Victory Club' is the story of four American women during World War II. They work at the same place and see each other on the bus each morning.

Lucy was married just before her husband enlisted for the war, and she is afraid that he may never return. In her loneliness she is seriously tempted to become over-friendly with an older neighbour.

Dottie is engaged to another man who is also away in the war. Unfortunately, before he left, they did something which will have lasting consequences, and she is scared.

Margo, Dottie's mother, is strict and legalistic. She has a dark secret of her own from the past, but rather than being more sympathetic as a result, she finds it impossible to relax or to allow her children to 'fail' in any way. She is afraid for her son Clark, who is also away in the war.

The fourth woman is Penelope, whose husband stuart is unable to enlist, or even work, due to back injuries. Penelope is resentful and bored.

The four form a club to help other friends, and to support and pray for each other and their loved ones. The story follows them all over a few months.

I thought the novel interesting from a historical perspective. For one thing, I had not realised that the USA had some food rationing, albeit nowhere near as stringent as that in Europe. It was well-written too - Robin Lee Hatcher has an interesting style, and makes the characters come alive.

On the other hand, I felt that there was far too much introspection and overtly Christian conversation, none of which seemed realistic. I didn't disagree with what was said, but found the style of discussion rather off-putting and unbelievable, which was a pity in an otherwise believable setting.

Quite a good light read, although I felt the lack of an overall plot or single main character.

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