Book Review “War Clouds over Blackberry Farm” by Rosie Clarke

War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm

Cambridgeshire – March 1939

As the clouds of war begin to gather in Europe, the Talbot family of rural Blackberry Farm will be torn apart, just as so many families all over the world will be. Life will never be the same again.

Whilst in London, the Salmons family will feel the pain of parting and loss.

Brought together by war, the two families become intertwined and, as the outlook looks bleak, they must draw on each other’s strength to fight through the hard times.

Lizzie Johnson and Tom were sweethearts until a mistake caused a terrible rift. Lizzie takes herself off to London to heal the pain in a glamorous new job but she still loves Tom. His pride has been hurt – but deep down inside Tom still cares. Can they find happiness before their chance is gone and the whole word is swept into the terrible madness of war?

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Rosie Clarke is a brand new author to me. I pounced on War Clouds over Blackberry Farm because I really enjoy Historical war time books. This one did not let me down. A stunning read that gently rolls along in the Cambridgeshire countryside. I loved reading about an area that is close to me. The beautiful countryside and life on a farm skilfully brought to life with a huge level of reality. I grew up on a farm and Rosie gets the hard work that goes into farm life spot on.

Strong Matriarch characters, especially Tom’s mum add to this story immensely, she is the glue that keeps this family together. Her advice is readily given but never intruding. She’s always cooking something tasty, making sure the family and farm run smoothly. This was very reminiscent of my childhood. I smiled throughout these scenes.

This is a real war time family saga that captures the time period absolutely. I thoroughly enjoyed the switch between London and the countryside. The pace of life is described so well you can really picture inside the Salmons house, where Lizzie lodges, the difference in her rather gruff unforgiving mother and the loving family Lizzie finds herself with. The relationships are superbly written with joy and care. Tom and lizzie’s on, off relationship is so beautifully detailed that you can see right into their souls, the inner arguments they have, trying to make the best decisions, often without having the courage to talk to each and Lizzie’s inability to explain her dramatic flea to London. I just wanted them to get together and be happy.

Overall an impressive war story without too much war if that makes sense. It was more about the people and how they carried on with life no matter what. An enjoyable piece of escapism, which I wouldn’t normally say about a war based story but at times this book just takes you away to a beautiful farm setting, country life and all that goes with it. Joy, grief, arguments that seemingly run deep but overall love.

Author Bio –  Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Shop Girls of Harpers and The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is an RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.

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