Goodnight Sweetheart by Pam Weaver #BookReview #BlogTour



When Frankie’s mother dies, she is sent to live with her Aunt Bet in Worthing, Sussex. Life on their farm is happy – for a while. But when World War Two breaks out, Frankie must help her country by signing up to the women’s branch of the British Army.
Soon, she meets Romare, an American doctor who has come to the UK after facing terrible racism at home. But trouble is stirring in Britain too, and it falls to Frankie to try to protect him. Can love triumph over a history of hate? Or will Frankie and Romare’s love pay the ultimate sacrifice?
A moving, thought-provoking story, perfect for fans of Katie Flynn and Maureen Lee.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Goodnight Sweetheart today. Many thanks to Pam Weaver and Sanjana from Avon Books for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel, received through Netgalley.

A rather beautiful love story lies at the heart of Goodnight Sweetheart but this engaging wartime drama explores so much more than just the touching romance between Frankie and Romare.
The book opens in 1933 as ten-year-old Frankie Sherwood celebrates her birthday. It's not an idyllic childhood as her father died when she was little over a year old but it's obvious that she and her mother, Moira have a lovely, close relationship. The scenes after Moira dies and the little girl holds on to her grief are heartbreaking but the warmth that envelops so much of the story is already evident here as her Aunt Bet, Uncle Lorry and cousins, Alan and Ronald give her a loving home on their farm. The novel skips forward a few years to Frankie's teenage years and it's here that her feisty, resolute character really begins to take shape. She takes risks and stands up for what she believes in, even if it gets her into trouble.
As Frankie grows up, the coming-of-age chapters focus on her female friendships and first forays into work. She becomes a real support to her friend, Doreen who had had a particularly strict upbringing whilst Barbara is far more worldly  - much to Aunt Bet's concern. When war is declared, Frankie is on the brink of adulthood and it's really from here that the book begins to take on a much darker tone. After the months of the Phoney War, the true horror of what it was like to be in the thick of action is never sugar-coated and there are scenes which really emphasise both the physical and mental toll of war. Most of the storyline focuses on the home front, however, and Goodnight Sweetheart has  an engaging mix of domestic drama regarding various secrets and problems which come to light during the course of the novel, and scenes which are a fascinating look at some of the roles women performed during the war. 
It's the love which blossoms between Frankie and Romare, a black American doctor which proves to be the most engrossing, emotive part of the book. I was moved to tears by their story which is both a rather sweet and innocent romance and a horrific reminder of the racism which followed black  US servicemen serving their country. Despite being in England, Jim Crow laws are still enforced by the white supremacists in the military and there are some genuinely shocking and upsetting scenes which serve to highlight the terrible violence cast by the long shadow of racism.
The final chapters take place after the war and as well as richly capturing post-war life, there is also a clever drawing together of the various sub-plots, particularly regarding the mystery of the circumstances surrounding Frankie's mother's death and her link to a Russian princess. There were parts of this novel which made me cry at the cruelty and injustice which takes place, and further emotional scenes brought a lump to my throat but the ending left me smiling - and then Pam Weaver spoiled me further with a few recipes taken from the book and a really enjoyable short story set in 1977 but featuring a few very welcome cameos!
Although the bleak reality of the tragic results of America's segregationist policies is highlighted to devastating effect, Pam Weaver ensures the story never becomes too dispiriting. Even during the darkest times, the pages are infused with hope, courage and love. Goodnight Sweetheart celebrates the different forms that families may take and is heartwarming, honest and thought-provoking from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Goodnight Sweetheart is published by Avon Books, purchasing links can be found here but please consider supporting independent bookstores whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.


About the Author


Adopted from birth, Pam Weaver trained as a nursery nurse working in children's homes, premature baby units, day nurseries and at one time she was a Hyde Park nanny. A member of West Sussex Writers' Club since 1987, her first novel, A Mother's Gift (previously published as There's Always Tomorrow) was the winner in the Day for Writers' Novel Opening Competition and was bought by HarperCollins Avon. Pam's novels are set in Worthing during the war and the austerity years which followed. Her inspiration comes from her love of people and their stories and her passion for the town of Worthing. With the sea on one side and the Downs on the other, Worthing has a scattering of small villages within its urban sprawl and in some cases tight-knit communities, making it an ideal setting for the modern saga.

Comments

  1. Love the idea of the recipes and the follow up story!

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