1912-1917 are the years covered in THE BEST OF DAUGHTERS a novel which takes place in primarily London and a country home 4 hours from the city. It is during this time period that the Suffragettes are demanding the vote, big estates are breaking apart and old money is moving away from traditional roles, and there are the rumblings of WWI.
Daisy’s father’s business partner bankrupts his business and the family is forced to move to their small country home and start again. Gone the fancy dresses and vote rallies, parties and social life, gone are the servants and cooks, and gone are the now married chums into the arms of their husbands and family money.
What is a gal to do? 21 and nearly a spinster, wanting to have both worlds of enough money, important work to accomplish and never having tested her feelings, Daisy is now doing the marketing and cooking to keep her family going as they begin again. Should she marry her childhood friend or look elsewhere; is life just from father to husband? What about the poor women who often have no choice at all? Could there be more opportunities?
I liked THE BEST OF DAUGHTERS because it was the story of a young woman with lots of questions, searching and having good problem solving skills but also looking for new answers and results. Daisy just rolled up her sleeves and got the job done. The story was fast paced and although marriage and love were an important part of the story, they were not so limiting for Daisy’s choices. Her younger sister actually benefitted from her explorations.
I especially liked learning about the First AID Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) And Dilly Court had obviously done some fine research on this core group of women who were integral during the War in France. I loved reading about their training and fitness; how they learned to drive, ride horses, and shoot with accuracy. They were vital to the War efforts and the story line here was outstanding. I was reminded of the WWI story LETTERS FROM SKYE. Lots of ambulance driving and close calls, luckily Daisy had a fur coat!
If you like the series Downton Abbey, I am certain you will like THE BEST OF DAUGHTERS.
As much as I like the flower daisy, I just could not think of the heroine as being a Daisy. This character was presented as much more powerful and smarter that I could conjure up with the name Daisy; too light weight, simple, and happy to carry off this role. In my simple search, I found that RUTH was one of the most popular names in 1913 England, now that is a more substantial woman. Top 5 for 1891 when supposedly Daisy was born = Mary, Anna, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Emma. (Daisy was not even found on the top 100)
What name would you choose for a transition, questioning character?
In the post THE LADY’s MAID also by Dilly Court, I wrote about her yellow Lab ARCHIE. THE BEST OF DAUGHTERS is dedicated to Archie with a love poem.
Great British Reads is coming to the US! Dilly Court is one of their star authors.