A diverse group of young women just out of high school live together during the summer of 1943 on a farm as part of the Farm Services – tending the fields and the livestock – doing the work of the men who are off fighting the war in Europe. We follow the stories of Helene, who sends her wages home to support her single mother; Peggy, a flirt with a secret she is desperate to keep; Binxie, whose rich family doesn’t approve of her; Isabel, who pines over her fiance who is off fighting; the mysterious “X”, who of all the girls feels most out of place; and Jean, whose family farm has been taken over by this group of “farmerettes.” As the Second World War rages across the ocean, friendship, romance, hardship, and heartbreak shape their summer, and no one will be left unchanged.
Gisela Tobien Sherman’s YA historical novel, THE FARMERETTES (who were a real group), is set in Canada in 1943 and tells the story of six girls who volunteered to work on farms during World War Two in order to feed the troops. I admit to liking parts of the book and not liking parts of the book. I wish the author hadn’t told the story from SIX different perspectives because I often got confused about who I was reading about (I must add that I had an ebook review copy and formatting may have been an issue. The finished copy may have made it clearer somehow.) Also, because there were SO many characters, I didn’t feel as if they got enough development and they all sort of felt flat to me – Aside from Isabel – I found her story and character were well written and she’s the only one I had any feelings for. The idea for the story, however, is very unique and there just aren’t enough books out there about Canada and Canadian girls! The writing flows well and made the book a quick read.
With a rare look at the other side of WW2, I give THE FARMERETTES 3 stars ***.
*I received an e-copy of this book from Second Story Press via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review*