This is the story of a young Liverpool woman widowed in the Second World War before she can know the happiness of having a family. With the blessing of her mother, with whom she runs a B&B, she goes to Normandy to see where her husband was killed in the D-Day landings in 1944. Once there, she meets an impoverished French poultry farmer, now reduced to driving a beaten up taxi and looking after his old mother and dying brother.
A touching love story, a compelling portrayal of the aftermath of war and above all a testament to the courage and endurance of ordinary people, Madame Barbara will delight Helen Forrester’s countless fans.
To research this book, Helen visited northern France and drew heavily on French accounts of the war and its impact on civilians. Like her heroine, Helen had lost a fiancé soon after the D-Day invasion.
She wrote to her editor about one of her trips to France.
“It was strange, when I was in Normandy in October, to find a sense of the frightful aftermath of the invasion still there, though most of the present population are too young to remember it, although most of them must have lived among the ruins for years; and you can buy ice cream and sodas on the cliffs above the Juno and Sword landing places. There are no houses, except the new cafe, within sight. A little way away, tucked into the coast is Arromanches, which was, along the seafront, totally ruined when I saw it in 1948. Brittany and the Loire Valley did not have this weird aura. Britons know very little about the French civilian population caught in the invasion, and I really hope to remind them of it!”