Kerri Turner is making her name in historical fiction. The Daughter of Victory Lights is completely enthralling.
1945: During the war, Evelyn Bell felt useful. She was volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment, protecting Londoners from the German bobs threatening their lives and city. But once the war is finished, Evelyn is supposed to go back to her rigid domestic life. But Evelyn has always wanted more, much to the chagrin of her older sister. When Evelyn comes across a secret night-time show hidden on a boat in the middle of the Thames, she knows she has found her opportunity to shine again. Entranced by the risqué performances, Evelyn becomes a part of the misfit crew and sets sail for a new adventure, far from her dreary future in London.
In 1963, young Lucy is unloved and unwanted. Her aunt has no time for her and only grudgingly houses her. A mysterious stranger calls upon the house, saying he knows Lucy’s mother, and soon Lucy is spirited away to the Isle of Wight. On the island she becomes part of an eclectic but loving family of ex-performers and is fed titbits of information about her mother. But she soon realises that these people know more than they are letting on, and Lucy tries to discover the truth of just who Evelyn Bell was.
The Daughter of Victory Lights is the story of one woman’s determined grab for freedom after WW2, in an era of censorship and loss of female agency. It is wonderful to read of the women in our history who bucked the trend of marriage and went out on their own, taking the consequences of their decisions. Evelyn is a spectacular character, and you are invested in her from the very first page. Supported by a cast of wonderful characters, Turner’s writing transports you into the time periods she is describing.
The vibrant setting of the story also plays a major part in this narrative. With the majority of the story occurring on an old boat, Evelyn, and the reader, get to experience life on the ocean and all the highs and lows that brings. I loved that the shows on the boat were secret, hiding from the law, due to their risqué dances and costumes. Reading a book where you can be a little rebellious is always a great idea! Kerri Turner will be on my list of authors to read now, with beautifully plotted storylines and engaging characters resulting in a spectacular novel. The Daughter of Victory Lights took my breath away.
Keen to read more books about women in history and win great prizes?
Find out more and WIN a $500 Visa gift card and Herstory book pack at harpercollins.com.au/herstory.