I try very hard not to say that I like a book just because I do but Sally’s Family by Gwendoline Courtney falls into that category. For years the only book I had read by the author was Elizabeth of the Garret Theatre (Those Verney Girls/Stepmother – I now own copies will all three titles!) which I read when I was at primary school. I loved it but had no idea that there were any other books.
It was Mum who started collecting Gwendoline Courtney’s books but I never felt the urge to read them, which is peculiar considering how much I’d enjoyed Elizabeth and her sisters. I had left home by this time and was pursuing other book interests. Finally Mum gave me a copy of Sally’s Family and I could do nothing else but read it. As is so often the case I was immediately won over – but I still didn’t read the rest of Gwendoline Courtney’s output. That had to wait until after Mum died and I fell heir to her collection. I read them then and wondered (inevitably) why I’d delayed.
But Sally’s Family. It’s about six siblings who, because of the war, have been living apart. When Sally, the oldest, is discharged from the ATS she sets about getting the family back together again. The book tells the story of the ups and downs of that venture as they get to know each other and try to live on very little money. It’s not an original idea but it is well told and the brothers and sisters have very distinctive personalities. To use a hackneyed description, it’s heart-warming, just right for these uncertain times.
In fact, I’ve just talked myself into re-reading it.