This, the third volume in the saga of the Timmons family, centers on Sadie and on her life between the early 20th century until the end of World War II.
Sadie’s idyllic childhood in Australia ends in tragedy with the death of her mother and the advent of a series of stepmothers who all receive more attention from hard-working Joe Timmons than do Sadie and her brothers. Left to her own devices, Sadie marries the philandering Frank and, taking her destiny into her own hands, divorces him and moves to Cleethorpes, England, near her sister-in-law Jane.
It is now the England of World War II and Sadie, with three sons serving in the RAF, must cope with the deprivations of war and her fear for her sons. But Sadie is not alone. Friends and family lend their support and Sadie even finds herself falling in love again.
Theme of the Book
Much of Sadie’s Wars is concerned with the death and loss of loved ones, the theme is not one of sadness and tragedy. This is a saga with hope, love, and courage taking center stage.
What I Liked About the Story
Sadie’s Wars alternates between Australia before and during the First World War and England during the Second World War. By choosing this structure, the author is able to delight readers with not only depictions of life in early 20th century Australia and in mid-1940s England, but also with a well-developed picture of Sadie’s evolution from cheerful young girl to strong and independent middle-aged woman.
The descriptions of Australian life during Sadie’s youth are particularly striking. There was the hardship of traveling tremendous distances by train, river boat, and oxcart to visit family. The isolation of far-flung sheep and cattle stations must have been so difficult for ranchers, their families, and even their workers. The patriotic frenzy associated with WWI, with women handing out white feathers to non-combatant men, is also fascinating in this era of skepticism. Sadie becomes caught up in the fervor and, as a result, makes the marriage from hell. And there were the economic depression and the extensive drought that ruined lives after the end of the war and finally forced Sadie to leave.
Reading of Sadie’s life in Cleethorpes during World War II brought home the strength and courage of the women left behind by sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers. Like other women in the same situation, Sadie’s life is full of both hope and fear, of happy moments and moments of abject sadness. Faced with the near certainty of losing loved ones, the women of Cleethorpes were still ready to volunteer, to help those in need, and to support one another.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
Not having read the first two books in this saga, I was not aware that the stories were based on the author’s family until the very end of the book when I read the Author’s Note. I think I would have approached the book in a different frame of mind had I known that the novel was based on fact. I would strongly suggest that the author make this clear at the beginning so that readers understand that they are not reading complete fiction.
And one very small request to the author: please eliminate the italics used in giving the names of cafes, restaurants, or hotels in Cleethorpes.
There are characters in Sadie’s Wars readers will love and characters readers will hate. There is happiness and tragedy. This is a book full of romance, of danger, of trust and betrayal. The author has taken her research into her family tree and written a saga that will touch readers deeply.