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The Dandelion Years by Erica James

on April 13, 2015

Aj book review club's photo.Aj book review club's photo.

The Dandelion Years by Erica James

Tanya Monday review post

I was sent this by publishers to review and I was so pleased to receive it. I have always been a fan of Erica James and again this was a great read which kept me awake at night, which is always a sign of a good book.

The book is based mainly in Suffolk and has two parts to the story. There is the story of Saskia a 32 year old lady that lives with her dad and her two granddads in an idyllic house on the outskirts of a Suffolk village of Melbury Green. It seems a strange set up but tragic events that happened when she was a girl lead to this arrangement and it works for them. Grandpa Oliver looks after the chickens and the garden whereas Grandpa Harvey is responsible for the cooking and cleaning. Her dad owned and ran Granger’s Rare and Antiquarian Book Shop and her passion and dedication to her job fell in a similar area with restoring old unloved books to their former Glory.

Through her job she discovers a hidden diary inside an old bible that has carefully cut out pages for the task. The diary is the start of fantastic story about two lovers involved with the highly secret Second World War time goings on at Bletchley Park and the deciphering of the German coded messages. The Dandelion Diaries as they are fondly known as tell the story of man and his love and relationship with a lady he named as Katyushka. It tells of their struggles with the grounds and confinement of Bletchley but also of the social class difficulties that arose. Really there should not be any diaries by the people at the park as they signed the official secrets act and it was only in recent years the extent that these people played in the war has only been revealed. However this is only the start and there must be more diaries to follow as the story stops abruptly.

Then back in present day there is Matthew. Matthew is now the sole owner of all of Professor Jacob Belinskys vast book collection and his house, Glaskin House. He had grown up with his mum being the housekeeper for the professor and lived in the Coach house in the grounds. He grew up with the professor guiding his education and misses the gentleman sorely. He asks Saskia’s dad to come in to catalogue and value the books. Saskia helps him with this task and she discovers who the true writer of Dandelion Years is.

Matthew and Saskia continue to see each other on their quest to find out more about the Dandelion Year. However you get the impression that Matthew and Saskia are often hiding their true feelings for each other. There is also quite a few crossed wires and you wonder if they are ever going to become more than acquaintances.

The characters in both the story in the present time and the story during the war are fantastic and I really like the Granddads and how they would appear to have their little daily discussions but really would do anything for each other. I also want to visit the book shop as it would be fascinating.

The Story told in the Dandelion Diaries bought tears to my eyes and furthermore gave me an insight into what happened in Bletchley during the war. I would now like to visit the area and appreciate and read more about the actual people that worked there trying to decipher the codes. It brought home to me how secretive their job was and how they could not speak about it even to their loved ones.

Erica you have done another great job and will be looking out for your next book with eagerness.



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