Gracie (Women & War Book 1) - Ellie Keaton

What a great WWII story! I stayed up late to finish this book (and I am not sorry). Gracie Thompson is working as a lady's maid in Lord Hamilton's household in 1937 when she meets Charles Power, a friend of her twin brother Stan. Gracie and Charles kind of side step each other for the first year, as he comes over to her parents' house for tea or dinner on her nights off from work. It is 1937 and the Great Depression has impacted the Thompson family hard (hence why Gracie is working). There is also a possible threat of war with Germany.


By 1938, Gracie is dating Charles and is the lady's maid for the newest member of the Hamilton residence, Penelope (Penny). Penny understands first hand the awfulness of the Nazis, as she escaped France in the nick of time. Penny is no spoilt rich girl - she spends the book trying her hand at helping the gardener plant a victory, aiding the nuns at the orphanage that took in kids from the continent, and wants to be a nurse so she can serve in the war. Penny and Gracie's friendship went way beyond mistress/maid and probably wasn't historical accurate, but I don't care I loved seeing them gossip over tea or helping people injured in the Blitz. Penny grew up in more democratic France and therefore has issues over British upper class manners and restrictions.


Stan and Charles sign up to be volunteer pilots for the RAF.


By 1940, Gracie leaves service life for life in the WAAFs. She isn't stationed at the same base of Charles, but they try to find time to see each other while on leave. Charles shows some jealousy issues, which I felt made him look like an ass rather than protective. Gracie writes to Penny often, but also makes friends with other WAAFs Macie and Jessie. Each young woman is dealing with the early days of WWII by doing, not sitting around fretting. I love this and feel that the book overall felt more women's historical fiction rather than historical romance. The romance between Gracie and Charles does get deeper at the very end and I get a HEA, but it was pretty shallow for most of the book. I can't wait to read books two and three in 2019 just so I can spend more time with the women.