The Last Telegram – Liz Trenow

What to expect:

The war changed everything for Lily Verner.

As the Nazis storm Europe, Lily becomes an apprentice at her family’s silk weaving factory. When they start to weave parachute silk there is no margin for error: one tiny fault could result in certain death for Allied soldiers.

The war also brings Stefan to Lily: a German Jewish refugee who works on the looms. As their love grows, there are suspicions someone is tampering with the silk.

Can their love survive the hardships of war? And will the Verner’s silk stand the ultimate test?

I am partial to a bit of historical fiction, such a painless way of learning. World War 2 is one of my favourite eras to investigate too, so this did the job. While I never expected to find silk production interesting, the author makes it so, especially as the material becomes of life-saving importance.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Lily begins the book as a very young woman whose only concern is losing out on her trip to Austria, but as the war takes hold she becomes more involved in the family silk business and is surprised to develop a love for it. People grow up fast in these circumstances, and Lily is no exception, handling the responsibility well. She finds the strength to cope with all the tragedies thrown at her over the next few years. I was glad she didn’t spend too much time with the wrong man, and the flashback structure kept her husband’s identity hidden until the end.

Kooks for your Kindle?– A great selection of original characters here, such as Lily’s adventurous granddaughter, keen to learn of her grandmother’s adventures before it’s too late. Robbie, Lily’s suitor and customer of the family business is just the type to prey on an innocent young woman. Gwen helps run the factory and is a woman ahead of her time, letting Lily in on her scandalous secrets as they become loyal friends. Stefan is one of the Jewish refugees that the Verners employ and house; despite their different backgrounds he becomes very important to Lily but his safety isn’t assured even away from his home country.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– From gin and tonics in the English countryside to the horrors of the blitz in London, it’s all here.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This is one of those books that sticks with you for a while even once it’s ended. It’s good for readers of all ages and is surprisingly gripping; as the introduction begins with Lily in old age there’s quite a hook to keep you guessing what happened in the meantime. If you prefer your fiction on the extremely frothy side then you might find this a bit staid, but give it a chance for a well written, researched and heartfelt read, with tragedy, romance, some wartime hardship and happy endings for some.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £2.48.

US: Amazon for $11.97 or Kobobooks for $7.39.