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264 pages4 hours


Vivacious and attractive Beryl holds centre stage amongst her group of friends, never having to arbitrate, swanning to the fore on the breeze of her sunny nature. The group meet in the local pub, Drifters, to celebrate the promise of a timeless youth.
Set against the backdrop of the “Phoney War” in 1939, Beryl suffers the loss of her lovers, even Scully, her hut mate, taken from her one by one as the German advance engulfs their lives. And as England withdraws, battered and beaten from Dunkirk, to stand alone in her darkest hour, Beryl makes a desperate decision, naming her first child in memory of her most passionate secret, the fighter pilot she imagined she could never lose.
The story of 1939 moves through the relationships between the various couples in the group. Whatever the circumstances and in whatever time frame they met and befriended each other, they are driven by the same force, part evil, part good, of an insidious fear sowing chaos between heart and mind. When Beryl toasts “To love; that we may always find it again,” on Christmas Eve, she is in fact reaching for the romantic life drifting from her and all mankind.
Alas! The mania of war intervenes. Beryl’s search flounders in the bloated corpse of an airman lost over the English Channel. Her lies multiply and her phoney character overtakes her once vivacious nature stringing her to the hanging post of a future she once claimed “as mine; everything’s mine.”
And if the art of life is to survive, Beryl now makes her final decision; to go, far, far away with the last man standing, holding back on passion for the lessor rules of a love that someone kind and gentle will do...what else?

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