The Last Telegram
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary (from Goodreads): Decades ago, as Nazi planes dominated the British sky, eighteen-year-old Lily Verner made a terrible mistake. She’s tried for decades to forget, but now an unexpected event pulls her back to the 1940s British countryside. She finds herself remembering the brilliant, lustrous colors of the silk she helped to weave at her family’s mill, the relentless pressure of the worsening war, and the kind of heartbreaking loss that stops time.
In this evocative novel of love and consequences, Lily finally confronts the disastrous decision that has haunted her all these years.
Review: A moving story about a young woman who takes over her family's silk weaving business during WWII. It's partly a coming of age story wherein spoiled Lily learns that she can cope with the challenge of developing new products and managing employees in a male-dominated manufacturing business. It's also a romance, when Lily falls in love with a Jewish German refugee taken in by her family to work in the silk mill. And finally, it's a history lesson about silk manufacturing, a topic which sounded a little boring, but turned out to be a fascinating part of the story. I usually enjoy books about how British women coped on the homefront during World War II, and this book provided a unique perspective.
I had a few minor complaints, which is why I didn't rate this any higher. Once the war ended, Lily's recounting of the past also ended, and the story jumped back to the present. The reader found out a little about her life (who she had married, what happened to John), but I thought that would have made a fascinating continuation of the story. I also wanted to know more about Lily's brother John and his experiences in the POW camp, and his return to married life.
Rating: 4 stars