29 May 2014

Our Yanks by Margaret Mayhew, Book review

  • Hardcover: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne - St. Martin's Pub.; 1st edition (February 20, 2002)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312287405
  • Also available in KINDLE format


The first of British novelist Mayhew's works to be published in the U.S. is aptly subtitled "a love story": not only does romance figure prominently in the plot but a figurative "love" involving two diverse communities suddenly forced into close proximity is the novel's overarching theme. 

In August 1943, the rural English village of King's Thorpe, whose weary but stalwart residents have suffered years of wartime deprivation, suddenly is overrun by allies from overseas an American army air force fighter group that outnumbers the villagers by more than two to one. The newcomers' tendency toward exuberance and braggadocio dismays many inhabitants, but individuals of goodwill on both sides seek to meld the disparate entities. The process is often hilarious, despite the domestic dramas being played out against the grisly backdrop of war. 

The author handles the bittersweet romances deftly Lieutenant Mochetti is smitten with the rector's daughter, who teaches kindergarten and is already engaged; Colonel Schrader and the lonely young widow Lady Beauchamp fall in love against their will; and Sergeant Somers finds the baker's saucy teenage daughter, Sally, irresistible. 

Warm relationships develop between old and young especially moving are the friendships engendered by Tom Hazlet, an enterprising boy who delivers bread, mail and purloined fresh eggs to the Americans. 
Poignant details of life in beleaguered wartime England enhance this charming story with a beguiling premise tolerance and diversity can be made to work and enrich the lives of those they touch.
(Publishers Weekly)

My thoughts:

Our Yanks is a bittersweet love story as happens often in wartime yet it portrays so much more! 
With an eye for details,  Margaret Mayhew brings a witty and colourful window on 1943 British rural life when the 8th Army Air Force arrives in a small village. 
Their task is to expand an old R.A.F. base and use it for their fighter group. But first they must settle down and learn the intricacies of British life which brings at times some hilarious results!
Not all goes as planned though and tempers are running high particularly when their Commander tells the villagers not to worry, the Yanks are there now to win the war for them!
Tut, tut, tut!

The villagers are wary of this noisy intrusion in their tranquil life even if necessary as the new arrivals means the war will finally come to an end. 

Somewhat begrudgingly, the welcome mat is set for the Yanks from the rector's house to the manor and life is soon forever changed. These intrepid young men bring their own energetic doses of enthusiasm and find a diplomatic way to smooth ruffles when needed. It helps of course that they have never ending supplies of many things four years of rationing have kept off shelves!

In OUR YANKS Margaret Mayhew brings readers her considerable writing talent and paints an unforgettable picture of the gallant men who joined their European Allies in the fight for an end to WW 2  after Pearl Harbor! 

Faraway from home, these brave young pilots often gave the ultimate sacrifice as they flew dangerous missions escorting their fellow bombers on their way to Germany. They lived their lives often as fast as their flying machines!
Along with the many ground crews who helped make their missions a success, they came roaring into British life, leaving sometime a few broken hearts behind but also many memories.
They were never forgotten however by the men, women and children who came to call them Our Yanks!

A delightful story of love and deep friendship in time of war and a must read for any Anglophile!

5 Stars!

Note: A heartfelt thank you to Josie-Mary for bringing this author to my attention! I am looking forward to read more of Margaret Mayhew's novels!

The children they befriended never forgot their Yanks!
One of those even joined the RAF!

About the Author:

Margaret Mayhew was born in London; her earliest memories were of the London Blitz. She is married to an American aviation author, Philip Kaplan, and lives on the border of Wales.

Note: This was a library loan and all opinions are mine only!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds good I need to remember this one! ~Heather


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