Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Netta, our heroine, makes a bold move at the beginning of this story. Bold for her age (she’s only 20) and, it seems, for the time – it’s the 60s and Netta is moving from West Germany to Brighton.
At her tender age she has great expectations for when she starts her new job teaching at a local school. But perhaps she has given the locals a bit too much credit. While WWII had been over for 15 years by this point, the elder generation hasn’t forgotten.
The younger generation are, it seems, moving with the times, however and Netta quickly finds both a friendship group and a love interest: Billy Langley, the caretaker at the school where she works. Together, they navigate any prejudice she might be facing inside the workplace and outside of it. But, when she brings him home for Christmas, she realises that perhaps, things aren’t as different back home, as she had thought.
As someone who moved to the UK as a 15-year-old, it was easy to identify to pinpoint those elements, where perhaps the culture of my new homeland doesn’t quite match with my own. This adds a nice edge to the book, but I would argue that even without this mutual experience, the reader could easily recognise cultural references from 1960s Britain.
It’s not all political, by any means. There’s romance and friendship and the tale of a young woman, flourishing, despite obstacles.
At just over 200 pages, this book will make a great addition to anyone’s summer holiday luggage.
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