Not having been born until 1973, and growing up in another country, I can't say whether Elizabeth Jane Howard's fictitious account of the life and lives of an English family during WWII and beyond is historically accurate or not, but with this much detail, she must be writing either from her own experience or from extensive research. It certainly felt very real to me.
Told from the points of view of different members of this large, extended upper-class family and its household, The Light Years gives an account of English life in the lead up to the second world war. The author gives fine details of the running of the household inside the family's country manor, the social conditions of that time and the political situation as seen through the eyes of young, middle-aged and elderly, male and female, upper, middle and lower classes, providing a fantastic tapestry of life at that time.
All of this detail could have the potential to be dry and boring, but the characters are so beautifully and realistically drawn that the reader can't help but be drawn right inside the novel and feel a part of the family. These characters begin to affect the reader in a way that is rarely seen, and after finishing "The Light Years", I couldn't wait to begin the second instalment, "Marking Time".