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An Unexpected Sisterhood
on 18 March 2011
Daffodil Girls worked for me on so many levels. It appealed because we read so much about our soldiers, but don't hear about the lives of the wives, partners and mothers who they leave behind - and who worry every moment that their loved ones are in a war zone. So I was - quite simply - curious. The world of a garrison town is closed off - and the MOD doesn't allow much access. This aspect of the book is fascinating. But then there is the sisterhood - the group of women, all types, all ages, all social classes - who help each other out on 'the patch'. Sometimes this is so moving - like when the two officers' wives go into the clear the house of the young wife whose response to news of her husband's death was to get the hell out and back to Wales.
(Oh yes - Daffodil Girls is the affectionate nickname the author gives to the women behind the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh. Welsh daffodils, you see?)
The lives of the women skilfully unfold through the book, like the story lines of a TV series, and once you get to know who they all are (there's a helpful list at the start) you become totally involved in their world - smiling, sometimes laughing out loud, and - yes- getting very teary as well. There's love and laughs and loss in this book. And the birth of a baby too.
Last of all, Kitty Dimbleby tells her own story. She was obviously a reluctant army wife, but one who can therefore explain this world to outsiders - the rest of us. She might be from a well-known family but she can obviously muck in with the best of them, and earn the confidences of the toughest soldier's lady. She's written an unexpectedly gripping and rather uplifting book which tells us much about army life, about the way women interact with each other, and about the resilience of the human spirit. Excellent.