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The Yankee Years Boxset Books 1-3 Kindle Edition
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By Dianne Ashcroft
Disclaimer: I was fortunate to be given a copy of this book through The Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Yankee Years is a series of interconnecting short stories set in Northern Ireland during the years of World War 2. It begins in 1941 where the residents of Irvinestone, County Fermagh have new neighbours in their midst due to the construction of an American military base on their doorstep. Ruth Corey is a young woman who lives and works at her parents’ B & B, the home for several young American and Irish gentlemen whilst doing their jobs within the war effort. Ruth is “stepping out” with an Irish journalist Harry, a very ambitious young man who is eager to further his career. She also develops a friendship with a New Yorker, Frank, who is a young engineer employed in the construction of the base for flying ships.
The story unfolds around the growing relationships within the town, some of them uneasy, some romantic, some business, and some new friendships. Ruth is a strong minded young lady with a keen moral compass and an intuition that can lead her into trouble. I found her to be a woman of her time, in terms of being conscious how she must behave within her courtship, and yet also a woman ahead of her time. She really feels and knows that she could be doing something more worthwhile for the war effort, and she also knows her own mind when she sees someone close to her behaving incorrectly. She will not protect someone who may be deemed to be a traitor.
I found the stories easy to read and the characters to be believable. Dianne Ashcroft seems to get a balance between the seriousness of the war situation for Great Britain and the USA, and the everyday lives of the people of Irvinestone. The importance of work, politics, rations, the black market and also dances, romance and fun. The first two books focus on Ruth and Frank, and then book 3 has Pearl Grainger as the main character. The storyline from the first books continues as Pearl, a farmer’s daughter, finds her life intertwining with Ruth’s…..but I will say no more as I don’t wish to give spoilers away.
A light, easy read which can be broken into short chapters – great for those of us suffering insomnia/painsomnia! I enjoyed this and give it 4 stars – I have already purchased the next book in the series which must be a good endorsement!
In The Shadow Ally Ruth Corey works at her family’s hotel in Irvinestown. It is 1941 and the Americans are not in the war yet, but there are Americans building something near the village. It’s all very hush-hush, but it is presumed it has something to do with the war. One of the Americans, Frank, is staying at the Corey’s hotel. When Ruth’s boyfriend, Harry, a local reporter, keeps trying to get more information about the activities of the Americans, she becomes worried. He says he’s researching for an article, but Ruth knows that such an article wouldn’t be printed. After she finds a suspicious letter in Harry’s room (also living at the hotel) her worry doubles. She thinks that Harry might be involved in something treasonous. Ruth confides In Frank.
I found it fast paced and full of interesting people. At times Ruth seemed a little naive but she has courage for sure. She struggles with her conscience; she wants to do the right thing, but in doing so, she will most likely implicate Harry.
Acts of Sabotage, is a continuation of Ruth and Frank’s story. The story begins after the bombing Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Once the U.S. is openly at war with the Axis powers the base the Americans have been building is no longer a secret. Problems arise for Frank as much needed --and costly-- supplies and equipment keep missing from the base. With Ruth’s help and a few local men they are able to find the culprits.
I enjoyed Frank and Ruth’s innocent blossoming romance and their playful banter, which often highlights the differences between American and British English.
Keeping Her Pledge is another story set in County Fermanagh. Pearl Grainger is dating Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Pilot Officer Chuck Walker. Their new relationship is tested when Pearl volunteers to help at the US Army Station Hospital. He believes the hospital isn’t the place for “his girl” and urges her to stop working there. Pearl is unsure of what to do as she feels out-of-place in the hospital and she doubts her abilities.
Dianne Ascroft writes clean stories with smooth transitioning and good character development.
In full disclosure, I received an advanced review copy from the author and I have voluntarily posted a review.
Most recent customer reviews
With believable characters I would recommend this book for readers of this genre