on 4 June 2012
The story begins in 1939 when war has been declared on Germany, following Hitler's invasion of Poland.
It charts the lives, and loves of Rose, Felix, Merry and Richard, four members of a group of entertainers known as The Follies, until the war curtails this life.
Rose, a dancer, is in love with Richard but won't marry him because they're from different backgrounds. A foot injury threatens her career and the book follows her in London during the Blitz and as a land girl in Dorset, working for Matthew, a farmer who loves her and proposes. Not knowing what has happened to Richard, will she or won't she?
Distraught Richard - a trained opera and later cabaret singer joins the Army, misses out on rescue, is wounded at Dunkirk, and becomes a prisoner of war. By the end of the book he's back home and determined to find Rose and pop the question again.
Felix Lamont (real name Ned Mountjoy), magician and distinguished Spitfire pilot and "Merry" Guy Merryweather, concert pianist turned Forces Entertainment Co-ordinator, are both gay and become close when a tragedy involving Felix, draws them together.
You'll need to read the second Follies novel "They Also Serve" to find out what happens when the foursome meet up again in Dorset at Christmas 1940.
Having read this after the other books, I already knew the outcome. However, "Now is the Hour" is entertaining and readable, either as a stand-alone or as part of The Follies quartet. The characters are well-drawn and likeable without being perfect and the description of Blitz bomb damages requires no imagination.
I'm now curious about the pre and post-war lives of Rose, Felix, Merry and Richard. Any scope for further tales?
on 27 March 2010
I stumbled on this book by chance but loved it. I know quite a bit about World War 2 but this novel took me into new territory. It was cleverly crafted to engage our sympathies and then keep us turning the pages. The characters were very vivid and immediately engaged my sympathies so I wanted to know how they would fare as the war changed everyone's lives. Thoroughly enjoyable, I raced through it and so I was delighted that there were 3 more to enjoy. Highly recommended for anyone that likes a good story, warm and human characters combined with historically accurate background and a well-told storyline.
on 31 August 2011
Now Is The Hour is the first of the 4 follies books this is not my usual type of book, and nor have I read any books by this author, but I'm happy to say I really enjoyed it. Set at the start of the 2nd world was this book follows 4 main characters In London, the country side (where one of the characters becomes a land girl) and France. The book includes forbidden love and friendship, war, and people involved with the resistance. Each character follows a different path through the war, some faring better than others. This book is a easy read with interesting characters and flowed really well throughout. I enjoyed this book so much that I intend to get the other 3, to follow them through to see what happens to the main characters
on 6 September 2012
Found this book in a charity shop and bought it on impulse. Absolutely loved it!
A really heartwarming story, and the characters are so likeable. A well written story that really evokes the feeling of WWII.
Will definitely be reading the rest of this series, the cliffhanger ending really has me gripped!!
on 12 October 2009
I enjoy books set in the wartime era and this book certainly did not disappoint. It was enjoyable, authentic and with lots of different characters with whom you could relate. Also, it was not set in the same place as the chapters were about different characters, some of whom were in London, some evacuated, and some in France which made for gripping reading. I liked the theatre theme and now know a bit more about how ENSA worked during the war. Hilary Green certainly did her research with this book. As this book is part of a series, when I finished it I could not wait to start the next one and will certainly be reading the rest in the series. The characters become almost like friends and I am looking forward to see what happens to them all. A thoroughly good read and a book I found I did not want to put down.
on 26 September 2009
You are introduced to a most unlikely group of friends, who are bought together by a common interest, just as their world is torn apart by war. Each must follow their own path through the war. The characters you come to know, are changed by the events that unfold.
Will they ever meet again and if they do will they recognise each other. A clever and emotive novel that launches you into an ever changing world.