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Publishers Weekly, 2002-01-14 The first of British novelist Mayhew's works to be published in the U.S. is aptly subtitled "a love story": not only does romance figure prominently in the plot but a figurative "love" involving two diverse communities suddenly forced into close proximity is the novel's overarching theme. In August 1943, the rural English village of King's Thorpe, whose weary but stalwart residents have suffered years of wartime deprivation, suddenly is overrun by allies from overseas an American army air force fighter group that outnumbers the villagers by more than two to one. The newcomers' tendency toward exuberance and braggadocio dismays many inhabitants, but individuals of goodwill on both sides seek to meld the disparate entities. The process is often hilarious, despite the domestic dramas being played out against the grisly backdrop of war. The author handles the bittersweet romances deftly Lieutenant Mochetti is smitten with the rector's daughter, who teaches kindergarten and is already engaged; Colonel Schrader and the lonely young widow Lady Beauchamp fall in love against their will; and Sergeant Somers finds the baker's saucy teenage daughter, Sally, irresistible. Warm relationships develop between old and young especially moving are the friendships engendered by Tom Hazlet, an enterprising boy who delivers bread, mail and purloined fresh eggs to the Americans. Poignant details of life in beleaguered wartime England enhance this charming story with a beguiling premise tolerance and diversity can be made to work and enrich the lives of those they touch. (Feb.) Forecast: This is a more accomplished novel than the Harlequin-style jacket suggests, but Harlequin readers should enjoy it, too, particularly if they're of a generation that remembers WWII. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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