Review: The Land Girls by Victoria Purman

Title: The Land Girls

Author Victoria Purman

Published: April 23rd 2019, HQ Fiction Au

Status: Read May 2019


My Thoughts:

In Victoria Purman’s historical fiction novel, The Land Girls, It’s 1942 and World War II has spread from Europe across the Pacific. As fathers, brothers, husbands and sons fight on the frontlines against the Germans, Italians and Japanese, the women left behind are asked to do more than just tend their victory gardens, knit socks, and roll bandages. While some women heed the call and join auxiliary services like the WRANS or the WAAF, or take up positions in factories and shipyards, workers are also desperately needed to ensure Australia’s agricultural industry doesn’t collapse and thus, The Australian Women’s Land Army was founded.

Flora, a 30 year old under-appreciated secretary, volunteers because while one of her brothers is serving overseas, the other cannot, and she is determined that no one will be able to accuse their family of not doing enough.

Betty, not quite 18, leaves her job as a Woolworth’s counter girl when her best friend, Michael, enlists, wanting to prove that she too can make a difference beyond selling cosmetics.

Lily chooses to join the Land Girls when her new husband must report for duty to the Airforce the day after their wedding, despite the displeasure of her ‘society’ parents who would prefer their daughter assist the war effort in a more seemly manner.

With warmth, humour and honesty, The Land Girls follows the journey of these three women from when, for meals, board, a brand new uniform, and thirty shillings a week, they are given their first assignments. It explores not only the challenges the women are faced with as they work long hours, largely unaccustomed to such intense physical labour, in unfamiliar surroundings with strangers, but also the emotional challenges of being separated from family, and their fears for their loved ones serving overseas. There are gains and losses, joy and heartbreak. All three of these women will be changed by their experiences as Land Girls, and the vagaries of war.

Well researched, The Land Girls is a wonderful tribute to the 6000 women who participated in the war effort as a member of The Australian Women’s Land Army between 1942 and 1945. It shamefully took more than fifty years for the Australian government to recognise the value of their contribution. I’m thankful Victoria Purman has shone a light on this admirable facet of history.

The Land Girls is a charming, edifying and poignant novel of Australian women in wartime and the important role they played on the home front, a story of resilience, tragedy and hope.

Read an Excerpt


Available to Purchase from HarperCollins AU

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)
    May 21, 2019 @ 11:10:29

    Happy Birthday to your daughter! I loved Grace and Frankie. I have been wondering about Dead to Me, do you recommend it? Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Veronica The Burgeoning Bookshelf
    May 21, 2019 @ 12:45:08

    I haven’t managed to read The Land Girls yet. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Kathryn
    May 21, 2019 @ 16:20:58

    I thought this was a great book too, and loved the Australian setting.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. stargazer
    May 21, 2019 @ 20:56:34

    True, it is not that often we get to hear about the wars from the women’s point of view, not even the ones who played an active role. This sounds like an interesting and charming read.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Yvo
    May 22, 2019 @ 05:55:30

    Wonderful review! It definitely sounds like an intriguing story.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Liz @ Bent Bookworm
    May 23, 2019 @ 15:05:36

    Interesting! This sounds a bit similar to one that came out earlier this year, about the British land girls, The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen.

    Liked by 1 person


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