Green Hands by Barbara Whitton
It is 1943, and a month into their service as Land Girls, Bee, Anne and Pauline are dispatched to a remote farm in rural Scotland. Here they are introduced to the realities of ‘lending a hand on the land’, as back-breaking work and inhospitable weather mean they struggle to keep their spirits high. Soon one of the girls falters, and Bee and Pauline receive a new posting to a Northumberland dairy farm. Detailing their friendship, daily struggles and romantic intrigues with a lightness of touch, Barbara Whitton’s autobiographical novel paints a sometimes funny, sometimes bleak picture of time spent in the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War.
The very latest release from the Imperial War Museum as part of their Wartime Classics series is set in 1943 and the men are away fighting and so the women recruited as part of the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in Green Hands (IWM) Barbara Whitton (pseudonym for Margaret Hazel Watson) tells the of the experiences of three young women working the land.
The story is told by Bee and her two friends Anne and Pauline are sent to chilly windswept farm in a remote part of Scotland in Winter, with no training they are expected to learn quickly how to work a farm. It is hard-going, cold and tough for the young women who are expected to work 6 days a week and long hours. The novel is based on the authors own experiences in the WLA.
It is physically hard and soon one of the women gives up and goes home leaving both Bee and Pauline to be relocated to a dairy farm in Northumberland and from the story tells of how they coped during the war years.
It is funny and insightful and the author writes in such a way that she paints a picture of life working on a farm doing the job the men would be normally be doing but with not a hint of a thank you. At a time when the country had to pull together or go hungry, Green Hands tells of a time during the war years when it was the women who worked the land to keep the country fed and important part of our history.
Thank you to Imperial War Museum and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for a copy of Green Hands by Barbara Whitton
Green Hands by Barbara Whitton was published by Imperial War Museum and was published on 10th September 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
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