It's 1942, and London remains under constant threat of enemy attack as the second world war rages on. In the Bethnal Green neighborhood, Nellie Morris counts every day lucky that she emerges from the underground shelters unharmed, her loving family still surrounding her. Three years into the war, she's grateful to hold onto remnants of normalcy—her job as assisting the mayor and nights spent at the local pub with her best friend. But after a chance encounter with Ray, an American airman stationed nearby, Nellie becomes enchanted with the idea of a broader world. Just when Nellie begins to embrace an exciting new life with Ray, a terrible incident occurs during an air raid one evening, and the consequences are catastrophic. As the truth about that night is revealed, Nellie's world is torn apart. When it seems all hope is lost, Nellie finds that, against all odds, love and happiness can triumph.
Valuable ... It’s an enormous responsibility, telling a community the tale of its own tragedy ... You might open Nineteen Steps for the celebrity name, but stick with it for the history of an under-recognized event of World War II, a disaster still not satisfactorily resolved for many.
The story starts to sing when Nellie meets Ray, a U.S. Air Force pilot stationed nearby. The prose describing their first kiss fits the moon-eyed mood as the young couple falls hopelessly in love ... Honestly, most readers could predict the rest of the plot ... Time will tell if Brown has more stories in her, but her late, beloved grandmother would assuredly be proud of this first effort.
Heartfelt and warm, with quietly heroic characters that embody the innocence of first love and wartime patriotism, Brown’s debut is sure to be popular among readers who enjoy novels that bring lesser-known notable events from the past to life.