Review: Bombweed by Gillian Fernandez Morton

on Saturday, 13 April 2019.

Bombweed by Gillian Fernandez Morton
Silver Wood Books, 2018
ISBN 978-1-78132-979-5
Paperback, £11.99

The story was originally created by the author’s mother Margaret Smith in 1947 from her own experiences of wartime Britain. The original typescript was inherited by her daughters, edited and readied to finally be published in the 21st Century.

It is a work of fiction, woven from Margaret Smith’s time spent in the city and the countryside, focusing on the lives and loves of one family as seen through the eyes of the youngest sister, Vivienne.

The ties that bind us and the intricacies they hold are brought to bear in a well-constructed and engaging narrative, interwoven with what feels like first-hand experiences of living through the Portsmouth bombing. Chippenham, Devizes and a nearby Wiltshire farm also feature. The descriptions of life as an evacuee for a mother and baby in particular are thought provoking.

Margaret’s daughters note that she wanted to remember the reality of wartime Britain, ‘the struggles and fear, and the love and friendships that got them through’; the book has achieved this aim. It is a well-crafted story, well edited, and well worth a read.

Julie Davis
County Local Studies Librarian
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

Copies are available to view at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, and to loan from Wilshire Libraries.

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