I greatly enjoyed this book . Susan Gandar has a keen ear for dialogue and I detected a refreshing lack of anachronism in the handling of the First World War passages . The two eras of the story are deftly managed . At the outset, I feared that a degree of confusion might creep in but I needn't have worried . The switching back and forth between the two girls' stories is cleverly done - somehow you notice the lacuna and don't at the same time . The evocation of domestic service in the ' Jess ' story is particularly vivid and I think it fair to say that the characters in the earlier era are more rounded and ' fleshed out ' than in Sam's story . The moving denouement resonates for some time after finishing the book and this is testament to the author's skill in pacing the final chapters and the emotional grip that she has exerted on the reader . In conclusion , this is a confident debut novel and I look forward to her future work with great interest .