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  • Location: Suffolk, Bletchley, London

The Dandelion Years

The Dandelion Years

Why a Booktrail?

2000s and WW2: A book restorer spends her days tending to broken battered books and dreaming of past readers when she finds a hidden notebook in one of them which speaks of The Dandelion Years

  • ISBN: 978-1409146131
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

Saskia, 32, lives in Ashcombe with her father and grandfathers as she has done for many years now. An unusual set up maybe but one which is born of necessity and tragedy.

Working as a book restorer she find a hidden notebook written by a man named Jacob who uses the pages to write of his wartime love. As the secrets spill out, Saskia feels she owes it to Jacob to do the right thing.

She meets up with the man who had donated the book to the shop and finds that Jacob was like a father to him and so Saskia wants to find out more.
Jacob’s story soon starts to reflect Saskia’s own and so on she reads, wanting to find out the truth.

Travel Guide

It all starts with the discovery of an old notebook hidden in book and the life of a book restorer. One of the most worthy jobs in our opinion and o the way Erica writes of Saskia’s passion for restoring and mending the battered souls only to reminisce about the hands they’ve passed through on their way to her, was a joy to read about.

Ashcombe

Saskia and her workshop in the back of the garden at Ashcombe is the warm setting where it all starts. However, the family set up at home is only as it due to a historical tragedy. The sense of home, family support and family love shine through and enhance the already lovely picture building up of Ashcombe and its surroundings –

“The moment Saskia had set eyes on Ashcombe she had fallen in love with it. It was the most beautiful house she had ever seen – a rambling Suffolk  pink cottage on the edge of the village of Melbury Green, flanked by open fields and the river Stour to the read of the two acre garden.”

Grandfather Ralph comes in handy as he has a second hand bookshop which helps out in the notebook mystery and this is the crux of the story for once the links are established from past and present, the threads unravel to take us further into the mystery.The story switches back and forth from the present to the past and the gap between them gets smaller .

War

Just what are the dandelion years? A voice in the notebook speaks of the war time romance and the nature of them in general –

‘one little puff and everything could be gone, our hopes and dreams quashed’

The war time sections of the novel take us back to an England of 1942/43. Jacob immerses us in time and place and what the poignant joy of falling in love during that time must have been like. Jacob and Kitty’s life, their work during the war and the secrets they had to keep are spellbinding.

The work at Bletchley circle were perhaps the most intriguing parts of the novel and helped to build up a sense of intrigue as well as being one of the most secretive and iconic settings ever in wartime England. And Erica paints a rich detailed picture of this landscape.

And by all accounts, the work carried out there in breaking the Enigma codes transmitted by the Germans helped bring about an early end to the war. But during the war, and for a long time after, the place was shrouded in secrecy; nobody was supported to know about it…

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Twitter: @theericajames

Facebook: /ericajamesauthor

Web: ericajames.co.uk

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