Title: Daughter of the Home Front
Publisher: 5th October 2022 by HQ Fiction AU
Pages: 399 pages
Genre: historical fiction, romance
My Rating: 4 cups
A war. The girl she'd been. And the woman she was forced to become. A dazzling, heartbreaking story of friendship and redemption from bestselling author Jennie Jones.
Townsville, 1942. Young women aged sixteen and over are obliged by law to join the war effort, and Emma Hatton's world is at last about to change. Longing to escape the humdrum poverty of oceanside Blueholm Bay and the demands of her domineering mother, Emma reaches the bustling wartime mayhem of Townsville where the city streets are filled with glamorous GIs and red lipstick is the colour of the day. Befriending charismatic Cassie O'Byrne, Emma believes her adult life has finally begun.
Private Frank Kendrick's kisses make her heart beat faster and with all the talk of his family in California, surely a proposal is imminent. But after a hasty seduction, Frank disappears and Emma finds herself in trouble.
Her family's solution is the Holy Refuge of Saint Philomena in Brisbane, a prison-like 'home' where unmarried, pregnant young women are sent to repent and wait out their term before their babies are forcibly adopted. Longing to keep her child, Emma befriends other girls struggling in this cruel environment while her dearest friend of all seeks a way to help.
The courageous choices Emma must make will lead her to true adulthood, forever friendships ... and a home and family she could never have anticipated.
Jennie Jones latest book, Daughter of the Home Front, sees her move away from romance novels into historical fiction with the result being something special. At its heart is a story of the struggles for unmarried mothers during the 1940s. Jennie does a fabulous job of providing a very moving story told through a strong main character.
‘Being in this place was so disempowering. It broke a person's confidence. It hammered self-belief and cracked trust, leaving a girl's soul wide open for others to perforate with their unkindness. Emma didn't want to be left in the dark ever again. She needed stars to light her path and at the moment the only star she could envisage following was that of her own self-worth.’
This is the tale of life on the ‘homefront’ during WWII, where women stepped up and worked tirelessly to keep society going whilst the men were away fighting. The role of caretaker extended beyond family to include the running of everything from factories to farms. Sadly, however, society's expectations were still narrow and transgressions were not tolerated.
Emma is fifteen when she moves to Townsville to stay with an aunt in an effort to help support her mother and younger siblings. Her life forever changes when she falls pregnant but on the positive side meets and forges friendships with other inspiring women. Emma’s journey from teenager to mother - though common to many - will see her discover inner resolve and fortitude with strength and determination at the forefront.
‘Tears blurred her vision and she didn't bother blinking them away. Her world was crowded with troubles and even though Cassie would tell her to dry her eyes, perhaps sometimes it was best to let the tears fall. Maybe they would help wash away the injustice that ached in her heart and burned in her soul.’
All up a tale of courage as Emma must face family, friends and society to live the life she hoped for. At times sad, Daughter of the Home Front is a story of hope and strength in friendship, to push on and not allow expectations or society hold you down.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.