VICTORIA: A Novel of Love in Wartime England by Reg Gadney

VICTORIA: A Novel of Love in Wartime England

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From his icy preserve in WW II's spy underground, Gadney reaches out, with some success, to the more accessible, stressful lives of those in England forced to stand and wait. Widowed Victoria, whose late husband had never consummated their marriage, experiences the first shock of German bombing in her rural community and life takes on a heated, curiously extended dimension. Her only friend is a rakish elderly captain, blinded in a raid--but soon there is Pierre, on leave from a secret assignment in occupied France, and teenage Nick, son of the vicar. Victoria becomes Nick's mother/lover for one day and Pierre's partner for one night. A child is conceived and her daughter is born on D-day. At the close, Pierre, released from Buchenwald, returns to face the rage of Nick, whom Victoria had been attempting to ease into an affectionate friendship. In an envoi, Victoria and her daughter consign those times of passion and suffering to the cold storage of the past. Counterpointing Victoria's story are episodes from Pierre's mission--with top-level bungling, hair-trigger crises and expedient deaths. Although Gadney seems to have been in too much of a hurry to round off his tale (Nick's suicide is gratuitous), he has created some solid characters and a convincing doomsday ambience. The white cliffs--without bluebirds.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1975
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan