The third volume in the classic story of Helen Forrester’s childhood and adolescence in poverty-stricken Liverpool during the 1930s.
Helen Forrester continues the moving story of her early poverty-stricken life with an account of her teenage years and the devastating effect of the Second World War on her hometown of Liverpool.
At seventeen, Helen Forrester’s parents are still as irresponsible as ever, wasting money while their children still lack adequate food and clothing. But for Helen, having won a small measure of independence, things are looking up. Having educated herself at night school and now making friends in her first proper job, she meets a handsome seaman and falls in love for the first time. But the storm clouds of war are gathering and Helen will experience at first hand the horror of the blitz and the terrible toll that the war exacted on ordinary people. As ever, Helen faces the future with courage and determination.
“The books read smoothly like historical fiction, and I had to remind myself that they were autobiographical. I think the stories represent many women during that era, and provide a wide view into a life where freedoms and privileges are hard-fought.” – Reader
“The books would be suitable for a mature YA [young adult] reader, or recommended to any young woman who grew up with too many fairy tale stories. These books are fiercely real, where a fictional woman would have been ‘rescued’ Helen Forrester had to find her own way.” – Reader
During the early months of the war life went on in Liverpool much as before, except that the blackout every night meant it was easy to tumble in the pitch-dark. The full horror of war was yet to come but even precautions like blacking out the city to make it more difficult for bombers to target had its consequences for ordinary people.
“Only people who have had to walk without a torch or cycle without a lamp through the total blackness of a blackout can appreciate the hazards of it. Innumerable cats and dog trotted silently through it, to be tripped over by cursing pedestrians; pillar boxes and fire hydrants, telephone poles and light standards, parked bicycles and the occasional parked car, not to speak of one’s fellow pedestrians, all presented pitfalls for the unwary. Many times I went home with a bloody nose or with torn stockings and bleeding knees.”
When Helen finds her first love, another dimension of life in Liverpool at the time comes to the fore. As a child Helen had been warned against playing with Roman Catholic children but as a young woman in love she was determined to overcome such obstacles.