But what does it all add up to? The novel is full of little dislocations. The chaotic background of the war fosters a landscape of unexpected partings and joinings. People seem surprised by each other and themselves.
There are masterful scenes here of ambulance rescue, nighttime adventure, romantic betrayals and realignments. Waters has done her research, including interviews with survivors of the Blitz.
In the 40s, Waters has found a historical period of transformation as fertile as the Victorian era of her previous books, and as ripe for her project of writing lesbians back into history.
Waters is the master of all things lustful and Victorian. Turning now to 1940s London, she transforms the grim cityscape into a stage for her particular brand of insightful historical thriller, driven by female heroics.— Lily Power