DANCE THE MOON DOWN: WWI Historic Novel ~R.L. Bartram
DANCE THE MOON DOWN was a retreat from the rain and wind storm and all the disturbing news about possible war, and yet it is about a war and how difficult it was to experience that event first hand. It is a story about how women’s lives were changed by WWI in the UK and how after experiencing such horrific events the whole world makes a shift; valid until we endeavor to create war again.
The novel gets its name from the young people who fought WWI who were known as the DANCE DOWN THE MOON to ragtime generation. Today we talk about the ME Generation, the X Generation and the Baby Boomers when we describe other young people. Victoria the main character of the story is a representative of that group, who is not part of the gentry but grew up with a Physician Father and a tradition steeped mum. Victoria’s father insisted that she attend university and her mother thought it unnecessary and might even ruin her opportunities for a good marriage. Victoria did attend university and her roommate was Beryl a suffragette.
Young Victoria’s husband, a poet, is sent off to fight in the war just a few months after their marriage. The primary characters in the story then become all the different ways that women experienced the war at home. Victoria’s income becomes not enough to find lodging and food and she ends up working on a farm which is attempting to meet government quotas to feed the population and keep an island from starving during the conflict. She is not a LAND GIRL with adequate income because of her connection to the suffragette movement and her friend Beryl. Victoria’s husband is MIA for 4 years and she fights to find out where he is located; yet another strike against her.
The writing is quite formal and has a simplicity that makes the story very real to the events of this period in history. I could readily believe that Victoria did not know how the poor women coped or survived; she did not take a big political stand and yet she improved the circumstances for some in her own wisdom, with some modesty and embarrassment. The style of writing very much captured the mood and was quite realistic and informative. Bonds of friendship developed that could have only happened during a war and changed the people. I liked that the novel focused on women’s experience. The story had a good romance, but the work, strength and understanding were far greater in importance.
I thought this was a newer perspective and loved the more formal style. I also liked watching the BBC History Series such as: Call the Midwife, Wish Me Luck, Farm Girls, Bletchley Circle, and Island at War which were primarily about WWII. DANCE THE MOON DOWN is definitely in that league and truly highlights women’s role in that segment of history. Another opportunity to learn history with a grand story attached.
Robert Bartram the author sent me a PDF copy of this book and it was a pleasure to read DANCE THE MOON DOWN. Thank you
About the author in his own words: “Having first put pen to paper at the age of 17, he has now been writing for a number of years and many of his short stories have appeared in various national periodicals and magazines. His two main passions in life are writing and the history of the early twentieth century, which made ‘Dance the Moon Down’ a logical choice for his first full length work of fiction. He is single and lives and works in Hertfordshire.” He dedicated this book to his mother.