Lillian’s story traces her journey through life from her birth at the dawn of the 20th century up to her death a hundred years later.
She narrates in a chatty and natural style how as a young girl she leaves home to go into service, leading the reader through two world wars, expressing her fears and joys and her loves and losses. Lillian is a strong, positive and open-minded woman, receptive to the huge changes taking place in her own world and the greater world beyond. She’s interested in international events as much as in her family and friends, and we learn her attitude to the major happenings of the century – the atomic bomb, the Kennedy assassination, the Iraq war and the political scene in Great Britain. I loved it when Lillian wonders whether at the age of 92 she’s too old to learn how to become a computer buff.
I found the character of Lillian totally convincing and likeable, and one reason I enjoyed this book is that she reminded me so much of my dear mother-in-law. Both fiercely loyal to family and friends, both born in the early part of the 20th century, and living through many changes and much heartache, they got on with their lives and dealt with their difficulties without complaint, making their way in the world through hard work.
As Lillian’s family and those of her friends grew exponentially I found it difficult to keep track of all the characters, and although the author includes a dramatis personae at the end, I often struggled to remember who everybody was. Also I felt Lillian’s second marriage, and a certain event that I won’t mention because it would be a spoiler, were just a little contrived.
The ending was completely unexpected. Overall I found this to be a very satisfying read that I would recommend to anybody interested in social history.
I gave Lillian’s Story 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads.