The war is over, but trouble is brewing…
Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home.
Meanwhile, the squire’s fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming… and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne’s past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life.
For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry’s return disrupts the village quiet and it’s not long before gossip spreads.
The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning.
What does TWG think?
Diney Costeleo has been on my ‘book radar’ for a while, especially seeing as I cannot seem to go onto Amazon without one of her books cropping up! I am a bit ashamed to say that I hadn’t managed to read any of her previous books before I read ‘The Married Girls’. Unfortunately that means that I had no idea that ‘The Married Girls’ would be better read once the first book in the series, The Girl With No Name, had been read..
I have read many book serials and the majority of the books in those series have been okay to read as a standalone. However for me, ‘The Married Girls’ wasn’t one of those. I was super excited to begin Diney Costeleo’s novel as I was intrigued about her writing style and actual storylines. After all, EVERYONE has heard of Diney Costeleo surely?
Because I hadn’t started the series with the book one, I found myself struggling with a large chunk of the storyline as I felt as though I was walking into the middle a storyline, instead of beginning it. I tried my best to look beyond that and focus on the shell of storyline, which made the last part of the novel a bit easier to read over all.
If I ignore the fact that I was missing important information, I would be honest and say that on a whole, I DID enjoy the concept of the book due to its historical core. Also, I found the to-ing and fro-ing and the rollercoaster twists, extremely intriguing and they are what kept me the most entertained throughout.
Whilst reading ‘The Married Girls’, it became rather clear that Diney Costeleo knows her craft due to the impressive way in which she had created intense situations, complex personas and heartfelt circumstances.
Based on what I could piece together myself, I enjoyed ‘The Married Girls’ as it was a great chance to step back in time to a part of history I didn’t know much about. Reading this novel made a change from reading historical fiction books that had been written in similar eras with similar styles.
I really do wish that I had found out sooner about book two following on the story from book one as I couldn’t enjoy the novel as much as I would have liked to. However, this does mean that I will be going to read book one as soon as I can, AND I will also be picking another Diney Costeleo novel to read as the author certainly stands out from the crowd with her own unique style.
Thank you Head of Zeus.
Buy now from Amazon UK
To whet your appetite for the novel, is an extract from Diney Costeleo’s novel, ‘The Married Girls’.
the married girls
Fred Jones was waiting at the station and he greeted Felix
with a smile.
‘Welcome home, Mr Felix, it’s been too long.’
Felix laughed. ‘Don’t you start, Fred. I’ll get enough of that
from my mother!’ He gestured to Daphne. ‘And this is my
fiancée, Miss Daphne Higgins.’
Fred touched his cap and said, ‘Howdy-do, miss,’ before
opening the door so that Felix could hand her into the car.
As they drove over the hill towards Wynsdown, Daphne
stared out of the window. The gorge through which the road
twisted and turned had enormously steep, craggy sides. Thin
vegetation clung to the rocks which towered upward against
the pale blue of an autumn sky. Eventually they emerged on to
the hill top and Daphne found herself gazing out across wide,
undulating country, bathed in sunlight. Hedges and moss-
covered stone walls marked off fields, patches of woodland
broke the skyline, and tucked in the sheltered folds of the
land, an occasional farmhouse or barn. The sun struck colour
from the hedgerows and the woodland glowed with autumn
reds and golds. For someone brought up in the crowded East
End of London, where the streets were narrow and houses
jostled each other for space, it all looked empty and bleak.
Sheep grazed the fields and a herd of cows was gathered at
a farm gate waiting for evening milking. Sheep and cows!
Where were all the inhabitants?
Fred and Felix were chatting, talking about people she’d
never heard of and as they finally turned into the village of
Wynsdown she was becoming more and more disheartened.
As Fred swung the car round the village green and into the
lane that led to the manor, she saw a small group standing
outside the pub, the Magpie, watching. One small child
waved and Felix waved back.
‘Who was that waving?’ she asked a little pettishly. She was
tired of Felix paying her no attention.
‘Haven’t a clue,’ laughed Felix cheerfully. ‘Probably wasn’t
born last time I was home. Who was it, Fred, the kid who
‘That was little Johnny Shepherd, Billy Shepherd from
Charing Farm’s lad.’
‘Yes, he married that Charlotte, what was a German
refugee.’ He turned in between some tall stone gateposts and
pulled up outside the manor house. ‘Now then, Mr Felix, here
we are.’ As the car crunched to a halt, the front door opened
and two Labradors erupted into the driveway, followed
a little more slowly by Felix’s parents, Peter and Marjorie
Bellinger. Daphne stared at them through the car window as
Felix jumped out to greet them. They stood side by side in the
doorway, waiting, as Felix, shooing the excited dogs away,
hurried across to them.
Major Bellinger looked all right, Daphne decided, tall and
soldier-straight, his white hair cut short and smoothed across
his head, a neat white moustache above his mouth. She could
see the likeness to Felix.
That’s how Felix’ll look when he’s old, she thought as he
shook hands with his son. He was dressed in grey trousers
and a navy-blue blazer over a white shirt and some sort of
regimental tie, navy-blue with red zigzags across it. He’ll be
all right, Daphne thought. She was sure she could win him
over, given a little time. Felix’s mother, though, was another
matter altogether. Daphne watched as Felix hugged her, not
at all sure she liked the look of her prospective mother-in-law.
She wore a coffee-coloured suit, with a straight skirt, fitted at
the waist. The jacket had a neat collar, buttoned down with
ornate metal buttons, and four matching buttons down the
front. Her lipstick was red, her nose powdered, her grey hair
permed into regimented curls.
Mutton dressed as lamb, thought Daphne as she pinned
a smile to her lips and taking Felix’s hand, eased her legs
elegantly out of the car.
‘Mother, Dad,’ Felix said, proudly leading her forward,
‘I’d like you to meet Daphne, my wife to be.’
‘Welcome to Wynsdown, my dear,’ Peter Bellinger said and
held out his hand.
‘Pleased to meet you, I’m sure,’ trilled Daphne as she shook
the proffered hand.
‘Daphne, welcome,’ said Marjorie, ‘we’re so glad you could
come. Come along in. You must be dying for a cup of tea.’
And Daphne followed her through the front door into the
house that, one day, could be her home.