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on 12 March 2017
I enjoyed this novel so much that I bought this second copy to give to a friend. I foubd myself really caring what became of these women living out pretty ordinary lives in an extraordinary time. I have foumd in all of her books that the skill of this author weaves fascinating story lines and believable characters into really engaging novels.
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on 3 April 2017
Arrived early which was a bonus.Condition as described ,one very satisfied customer .
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This book is about female friendship and the lifelong relationships between a group of women who are wives of American air force personnel posted to Britain, Norfolk in particular, in the 1950s. There are lots of books on the market almost idolising lifelong friendships between women but this author is much more realistic. The women are believable and what happens to them seems real. The book is narrated by Peggy looking back at the past from the current day - this means that we get an update and a feeling of following the women and their families through their lives. As I write this I understand that the author is about to publish a sequel "The Early Birds" - I am not sure what she still has to say about the women in their old age but I am very much looking forward to finding out.

There are a lot of characters in this book. There are are women, their husbands, their children and the local people with whom they make a relationship. I didn't find it difficult to keep track of who was who and I think that this was mostly because of the first person narration so you always saw everyone else in terms of how they related to Peggy. The women are the focus of the story in one way and yet we are always reminded that the men are the centre of everything, the providers and those with power. The women move on because of what happens to their husband - in one way they are mere appendages but, of course, they have lives of their own which are to a greater or lesser degree fulfilling.

The author tackles all sorts of issues in her depiction of the lives of the women and the book reflects the time in which they lived. There is violence, bereavement, addiction, fertility issues, great unhappiness and all the other things that we bump into over the course of a life. The women are at times weak and at other times resilient but they are always human and the book is told with a lot of humour.

I very much enjoyed this book. I thought it was easy to read but actually quite thought provoking. I enjoyed the funny moments and I loved watching as the women moved through their lives.
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on 6 September 2001
This is a book that is difficult to put down once started. It covers the lives of 5 very different women, 4 American and 1 English, over several years from their early 20's and the characters all become very real. The book is at the same time funny and sad and I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read and one which I can heartily recommend.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 December 2015
This was a very enjoyable read. It was an easy going, well written book with plenty of humour. This book made me smile & even laugh aloud occasionally. It also had it's share of tragedy though I didn't quite get moved to tears.
The characters in this book are great. The book is narrated by Peggy & centres around her life & her friends over 50 years. They begin as US Airforce wives in post war Norfolk where they meet Englishwoman Kath, & progresses through their lives once they return to America. They have children, grandchildren & even great-grandchildren. They are widowed, divorced, married, arguing, getting jobs, starting businesses.....you name it, they did it. The central characters are how I imagine American women to be which may well be slightly stereotypical but it made for a good read.
Alongside the good story there is the social history side of the book. Although nothing is approached in any depth you cannot fail to be interested at some of the statements made which I suspect were typical of their time. There is brief mention of the war, black segregation, politics & homosexuality. However this book never pretends to be looking at these in more than a passing comment or two.
This was a well written, entertaining read. One that I can happily recommend.
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on 11 October 2001
The book follows the lifelong friendship of five U.S. air-force wives: Peggy, Lois, Audrey, Betty, Gayle and their English friend Kath whom they meet when they are based in Norfolk. The story moves from post-war Britain back to the States and is peppered with the historical and social events that touched the lives of these women along the way. It has an easy to read style that is very witty and is one of the few books to which I have laughed out loud; the dog thought I'd gone mad!
However as well as making you laugh it also makes you cry and just when you begin to wonder where the book is going it devlelops into a most surprising climax, that I just didn't see coming. I loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone!!
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on 17 December 2009
I had this book sat on my shelf for ages before I actually got around to reading it (I'd grabbed it in a charity shop because the cover appealed to me initially, as is often the case). I finally selected it on a whim for a journey to see my boyfriend's parents and once I cracked it open became engrossed in it immediately. I couldn't believe I'd had it for so long and not read it! To put it simply: this book is divine. I didn't want it to end, and when it did, I went right back to the beginning just to re-read through my favourite bits, which I hardly ever do.

This is the first novel of Graham's I've read and it certainly won't be the last. It's centered around American airmen's wives on an English airbase in the 1950's initially, though locations change through the novel as the decades sweep by.

The story itself is narrated by the witty, loyal Peggy, but all the characters are memorable with their own little quirks. Infact, you quickly feel like you actually know them and start identifying with what's going on in their lives as the years pass by and the group of friends are split up between the US and England; because ultimately, that's what this story is about: life long friendships. It made me laugh, it made me cry and most of all it made me wish that this could be made into a film- though whether or not the big screen could do it justice is another matter. Definitely one of my new favourite books and I hope her other novels are just as good.
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on 11 July 2004
I really enjoyed the wit and humor of Laurie Graham. I flew through this book in no time and really connected with the characters. It is a tribute to our older generation and the history and fun that lies in their stories. I am recommending it as a read that makes you laugh and cry. Pure enjoyment!
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on 22 May 2017
Hilarious laugh out loud book! Love it!
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on 17 August 2006
I found this book in a house we were renting, started reading, and had to pinch it because I couldn't bear not to finish it.I just thought it was a treat. The cast of characters were individually delineated with huge skill and interacted with all the friction necessary to make the plot romp onwards. I found it touching, funny, and accomplished. In fact, when I finished reading it I couldn't understand why Laurie Graham wasn't a household name. I think she's a star and I loved this book.
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