Nowadays this book is recognised as a landmark novel in the creation of lesbian pulp fiction, and indeed although it does cover sapphic love it has so much more to offer. I first bought this as I do have a liking for lesbian pulp but I knew that this only mentioned it and was not the whole reason for the tale. Tereska Torres who wrote this was recalling her experiences and what she saw whilst she was with the Free French Forces in London. The reason for this novel really came about due to the insistance of her husband.
If you are expecting loads of titillation then this isn't the book for you, however if you want a good story about what life was like for these women who had been displaced from their homeland due to war then you will find this book of great interest. Most of the women mentioned here were still in their teens when they signed up to do their bit for the war effort, and quite a few of these were still virgins. I would also strongly urge you to read the interview piece at the rear of the book with Torres. The only problem that I had with this was that the narrator seemed quite judgemental, but when reading the interview I saw that this had been done so that the American publishers would accept it.
By the end of the story you really get to feel as if you know the main characters, and feel real empathy for them. There are the lesbians in this group who know that they are different and portrayed as never finding true happiness. In a sense this is right because at the time of writing there was obviously prejudice against such women. There is the woman who seduces some of the others, not because she is a lesbian as such but likes the feeling of power that this gives her. There are the main body of women who want to find love, marriage and a happy family after the war.
Taking in lesianism, suicide, love, unexpected pregnancy, adultery and true love this book has something to offer everyone. This also gives an insight into the Allied forces in London at the time, and how people acted during wartime. There is comedy here as well, for instance when the women decide to alter their regulation knickers into something a bit more fashionable, are inspected, reprimanded and given new regulation underwear.
We know what war was like at the front, we know all about our female volunteers, and so it is nice to now know about other women who were displaced and did their bit, their worry for their homeland, family and friends who were left behind in France. Also of course is the worry of all women in wartime, will their lovers and husbands return?
All in all this book is very poignant, easy to read and very interesing. So if you are interested in lesbian fiction, wartime, womens studies or a bit of social history, you will find this book of great value.