1939 A woman disappears into a war
Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves is the story of two working-class women who come from different worlds: Rene Hargreaves, a restless, young woman from Manchester in flight from her marriage and Elsie Boston, a sole smallholder in Berkshire, thought of by the locals as irredeemably strange or ‘unked’. Rene comes to work at Elsie’s beloved farm, Starlight, in 1941 and the novel follows their relationship as Elsie loses the farm and the two women begin a journey together through England as itinerant farm workers. Rene and Elsie are resolutely unfashionable; a bohemian, queer world flickers at the edges of their lives, but is not for them it seems. WE WILL GO FORWARD TOGETHER say the wartime propaganda posters and Rene and Elsie do: the war obscuring some of their strangeness. But as peace settles and conventions are reasserted Rene and Elsie become more visible and start to look a little queer. Just as they seem set to secure a new life in Cornwall, a stranger from Rene’s past comes to stay and their whole way of life is threatened. Have a look at some reviews here.