Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Claire Gathercole


Pages: 208 Ratings: 5.0
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This is the story of a young woman’s dilemma in World War II. How can she and those she loves survive the problems they face?

Our story opens as Hetty prepares for Will’s return from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. She has learnt that Will has been tortured and disfigured in the camp and it was only the thought of her and his daughter, Mary, conceived on their wedding night, which kept him alive.

However, two years earlier, Hetty thought that her hasty marriage to Will had ended when she got the telegram “Missing, presumed dead!” Now he was coming home. How can she tell him about her new baby, Dorothy?

Staying with Will’s parents in Somerset, a young asthmatic teacher, David, is kind to Hetty and her young child, Mary, and they fall in love. But then there is the problem of what happened when they went blackberrying.

How on earth can these damaged people find a new way to live?

What will the outcome be?

Using her past experience as a clergy wife and a state school librarian, Claire Gathercole’s writing explores how she and others can cope with the problems life throws at us, often when we least expect them. From the grief encountered at different times by everyone, she explores ways to find the love and hope we all need to survive as we look to the future.

Customer Reviews
1 reviews
1 reviews
  • Julia Wilkson

    Hetty by Claire Gathercole is a powerful historical novel dealing with love and loss and life. It is set from World War II to the mid-1960s. It totally consumed me from the start. Hetty is based on a real-life dilemma from World War II.
    The characters are well-drawn and realistic, eliciting a variety of responses from the reader.
    Much of the action is set in and around Wells in Somerset. It is a place I know well. Familiar landscapes enhanced my reading experience.
    Life during World War II was very different from life in peacetime. Life had to be grabbed wherever happiness could be found. There was no guarantee of tomorrow. The result was that hastily arranged marriages were not always happy places to be after the war when true characters were revealed.
    Despite this, love pervades the whole novel. There is a love that neither time nor distance can kill. And there is a great love for one’s children. Love is what remains when the last page is read.
    There is a loss too, not just from war but from life events. There are crushing losses whose impact will never diminish, you just have to learn to live through the pain.
    Hetty was an all-consuming novel. There were some kind souls whose kindness reaches beyond the novel to encompass the reader.
    Hetty is a powerful read. Claire Gathercole pulls no punches – sometimes life is not always nice but love is a powerful force. We need to look beyond ourselves and our circumstances and both give and receive love.
    I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.

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