Thursday 29 December 2022

For Better, For Worse

    I do just about all of my reading on my iPad.  I download ebooks free from the Libby App that our library is associated with.  I always have to have something to read, or I get nervous, so it is very convenient when I finish one book, I can instantly download another, without having to wait and then drive into town to the library.

    Here is a review of For Better, For Worse, which I recently downloaded and read:

    I have always been interested in that period of history around World War One, and it’s effect on the caste system of England, so found this novel very entertaining.  The story kept me engrossed and entertained.

The novel takes place in England immediately after the end of World War I.  Stella is a young nurse in a military physical therapy hospital, who fell in love with John, a recovering soldier.  When he recovered, he got his orders to return to fight in France, but before he had to leave, they decided to marry.  They had 16 days together before he left.  He was then killed a few days before the war ended.

A few weeks later Stella received a letter from John’s aristocratic family, who she hadn’t met, inviting her to travel to their home for Christmas.   She decided to go although, being a “working girl” she was somewhat fearful of meeting them, but she made the trip, traveling by train to the small town where they lived.

    Her fears were somewhat justified because although Doreen, John’s mother was superficially polite to her, Stella didn’t really feel it was sincere.  John’s father however did seem genuinely pleased that she had come.  Rosalie, John’s extroverted and straight foreword sister, told Stella that she really wasn’t welcome in the house, and her mother would soon get her to leave.

On the day of her arrival, Stella was tired and cold after her long train trip and unexpectedly collapsed.  John’s parents put her to bed and called the doctor.  After his examination, he informed everyone that Stella was pregnant.   This was a shock to Stella, and immediately, she felt a change in Doreen’s behavior toward her.  Suddenly Doreen seemed very kind and generous toward Stella.

Roger, John’s father had always been kind and generous and arranged for a section of the house to become a home for Stella and her future child.  Stella, really had little choice but to stay.  As a pregnant woman, she would no longer be allowed to work in the hospital and would be in dire straits financially without a steady income.  Stella began to see that Doreen was very domineering and status driven, and she began to be somewhat fearful, suspecting that all Doreen wanted was her son’s baby.  

Months passed and after Stella gave birth to a baby boy, her fears about Doreen’s motivation seemed correct.  Doreen just wanted John’s child, and became more bullying and cruel toward Stella.  Stella refused to be intimidated by Doreen, and with the help of John’s father, Phil (Rosalie’s crippled husband) and the staff at the house, Stella was finally able to get out from under Doreen’s thumb.

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