These Days by Lucy Caldwell #review @faberbooks

Title: These Days
Author: Lucy Caldwell
Publisher: Faber & Faber


Two sisters, four nights, one city.

April, 1941. Belfast has escaped the worst of the war – so far. Over the next two months, it’s going to be destroyed from above, so that people will say, in horror, My God, Belfast is finished.

Many won’t make it through, and no one who does will remain unchanged.

Following the lives of sisters Emma and Audrey – one engaged to be married, the other in a secret relationship with another woman – as they try to survive the horrors of the four nights of bombing which were the Belfast Blitz, These Days is a timeless and heart-breaking novel about living under duress, about family, and about how we try to stay true to ourselves.

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My review:

I am often drawn to books set in World War 2 and find books about the blitz incredibly fascinating, but knew shockingly little about the Belfast Blitz. These Days centres largely on a family in Belfast, particularly their two daughters – Audrey and Emma – as they live through the horrors of war and deal with their own personal struggles whilst the city feels as if it’s crumbling to pieces around them. Emma suffers a devastating loss of someone very close to her and Audrey agonises over her engagement to fiancé Richard, and both feel a real sense of needing to behave or act a certain way because of societal expectations and the pressures of war. 

The book is split into three parts, each of which is set during one of the main raids during the Belfast Blitz (The Dockside Raid, The Easter Raid, and The Fire Raids).

These Days is written beautifully, with honesty and evidently a huge amount of research. Although covering a hugely tumultuous and dramatic time, it never feels overdramatic, nor is it a fast moving book; rather it conveys the huge impact these attacks had on the Belfast population – a time which isn’t as prominently addressed in books as the London blitz. Insightful and moving. 

Rating: 4/5

Many thanks to Readers First for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest review.

These Days is published in the UK on 3 March – pre-order from A Great Read or Waterstones.


One comment

  1. Like you Laura, I know shockingly little about the Belfast Blitz. In fact, nothing. I thought the only WWII Blitz was in London. Perhaps this is a novel I should read – it does sound good…

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