Don't follow the crowd,' she'd be telling schoolgirls at the swimming baths. 'Follow your own star and when you have achieved your goal you will have that with you for the rest of your life...'
In 1928, a plucky young Welsh girl named Ida Gaze swims the Bristol Channel with the help of her best friend Freda and the inspiration of her heroine Amelia Earhart. In 1937, on the instructions of the matron, a young skivvy at a grand maternity hospital in London smuggles out an orphaned baby on one of the coldest nights of the year.
Now, in a small town in Wales, an old lady named Ceci pieces together these stories and is about to discover the surprising ways in which they link to her own. It begins with two girls in the twenties who left their small Welsh village for the Big Smoke, feeling that the world was changing and everything was possible…
This book takes place in modern times when Cecily thanks to a new friend starts to wonder who a girl in a photo is. All things will come together in the end but the question was how. And that had me wondering.
In 1928 Ida and Freda are 16 and thinking about their futures. Or more like it trying not to think too much about it as parents nag. Ida loves to swim and wants to be free, but being like this she still seems to be the one who has the most to lose. While Freda is a bit more guarded, but at the same time she does not care at all what others think and is free with her emotions and feelings. Feelings towards her friend too. They are quite opposites in a way but they are both outsiders and friendship blossom. We follow them through trying times.
From the start I know that Cecily knew Freda, but she never knew Ida. So this old lady is trying to put the pieces back together. All while I am wondering about 1937 and the baby, but we get to that again and slowly the story unfolds. What really happened. And it's both sad and heartbreaking.
The title comes from the wonder girl that Ida was and that Freda too was. And they were go-getters in their own ways. But the book also shows that even if you have everything then something might still be missing. It's also a beautiful tale about friendship, first Freda and Ida, and then how a young woman named Sarah befriends Cecily and starts asking questions. Friendship through the ages is what the book is about, and how people can change. And of course it's also about those early women who broke boundaries and went where only men had gone before.
A good story about now and then, and quite the mystery too as the story comes to us as the years go by.
Genre: Fiction (historical)......................................
Published: June 7th 2012 by Simon and Schuster UK
Source: For review
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