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 is the author of the bestselling Rangeland and Swallow’s Fall series. With Daughter of the Home Front, she moves away from her rural romance roots and into historical women’s fiction. It’s a popular genre, and she’s right at home in it, delivering a moving, utterly unputdownable story, with one of the most compelling protagonists of the year.
Emma Hatton is only fifteen when she goes to stay with her aunt Doris in Townsville. She leaves behind a difficult mother who is struggling to make ends meet thanks to an absent husband, and four younger brothers. Life changes forever in Townsville, in many ways, but not the least because she meets Cassie Byrne, to whom she forms a life-long connection, and she falls pregnant. As happened to countless young women at that time, Emma is sent to the nuns – and must give her baby up.
This is a beautifully written tale of redemption, of growing up, and of standing up. It’s also an extremely moving story about friendship. Emma’s character arc, exquisitely drawn, has her finding herself and then making an important decision at the end of this novel that will have you wiping away tears. Daughter of the Home Front is a warm, wise weekend read.