Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
A Time for Renewal is the second in Anna Jacobs’ Rivenshaw series, following on from A Time to Remember. The ‘renewal’ of the title is the key theme here, with Britain, and the folks of Rivenshaw, trying to rebuild their lives after the trauma of World War II. Here’s the blurb:
In the wake of World War Two, the whole country is desperate for houses, with very little money available to rebuild. In the town of Rivenshaw in Lancashire, Mayne Esher has no choice but to turn Esherwood, the war-damaged stately home which has been in his family for generations, into flats. Rebuilding Esherwood won’t be easy but with Judith Crossley by his side, Mayne hopes to restore it to its former glory. First, he must open it up to some of his long-suffering army friends… and it soon becomes clear that the house isn’t the only thing which needs rebuilding.
Victor is fighting his late wife’s rich and arrogant mother for custody of his daughter Betty. Ros has been cheated out of her money and has nowhere to go now she’s been demobbed from the army. Daniel is still unsettled after his wartime experiences. He’s waiting for his divorce to go through and has family problems that take him away from Rivenshaw. Francis hasn’t even been in touch.On top of these troubles, saving Esherwood proves to be a difficult undertaking for Mayne and Judith. And certain people will stop at nothing to prevent it happening. In this time of renewal, will the group find a way to rebuild their lives, and the old house, as planned?
A Time for Renewal is sure to hit the spot for fans of Anna Jacobs. It’s an enjoyable read that’s not hard-hitting, despite dealing with the impact of war. Jacobs draws together a bunch of characters who are working together to rebuild and restructure Esherwood into flats. Together they deal with custody battles, snobbery and prejudice, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. Although many women were not so lucky during this era, Judith and Ros, and later Steph, are shown to be valued for their contributions even after the war’s end. One question remained with me – a character called Francis is supposed to join the team, but doesn’t. It wasn’t explained why and while that may be something for the next book, his presence was so fleeting in the novel that I felt he could have been left out of this one.
Overall, it’s a well-written, light and easy read that will continue to add even more fans to Jacobs’ list. Jacobs has a keen eye for knowing what her readers want and delivers just so.
Available from good bookstores and Hachette Australia (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Hachette.