Thursday, August 28, 2014
Set in the 1930s and 40s, this is the story of a British family, the Winstanleys.
Kitty Conway goes to live with the Winstanleys after her father dies, leaving her an orphan. Nim Winstanley was her mother's brother. He is the lord of Russington Hall and he has fascistic leanings, applauding what Hitler has done for Germany and claiming that Britain could learn a lot from him. Beattie is his wife and together they have several rambunctious children. The oldest is Irving and there are also Jack, for whom Kitty has a crush; Lexi, the blonde beauty; Frannie, who tries hard and is the same age as Kitty, and a couple younger ones. These kids are kind of wild and the girls are kept at home and educated by a governess who doesn't take her job very seriously. Kitty does her best to fit in and they are pretty nice to her, with some exceptions. But Kitty never does quite fit in, always a bit of the outsider, but not in a particularly painful way.
Everyone grows up and beautiful Lexi is engaged to marry a very wealthy young man. Shortly before the wedding is to take place, a young German man from her past appears and she runs off with him to Germany. When war starts, she is stuck there, with her two little children.
Frannie takes up with a Jewish man who is a communist. She follows him to Paris but he runs afoul of the Germans and is killed. She is also arrested and Kitty comes to France to try to help her. Jack is also in France, trying to make money on the black market. Kitty becomes part of Jack's black market activities. She also goes to Germany in an attempt to locate Frannie. She doesn't find Frannie, but she does find Jack after he is arrested for his black marketeering.
The war does finally end and the bedraggled remains of the Winstanleys come back home to Russington Hall, quite a bit changed by the events of the war, including Kitty, who, while not a Winstanley, still is pleased to be a part of their family.