When Jenny McKinstry is offered a new post as the Head of English at her Belfast school she’s elated! Yet she can’t help but feel conflicted about the position.
With all those around her mounting the pressure to start a family and her husband’s career about to take off, Jenny feels bound by an overwhelming sense of duty.
Will she be able to support her husband’s ambitions and land her dream job…
I received a copy of this book from HQ Digital UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A historical family drama set in Northern Ireland in 1968. It focuses on Jenny’s ambition to have a career in teaching, despite being married. She faces well-meaning and intrusive advice on how she should live her life. From those she trusts, and people in the wider community. The community is divided, sometimes families are divided because of the political climate, and maintaining old values assumes a disproportionate importance in this community.
The expectation that married woman should stay home and not pursue a career is the norm at this time, and Jenny is seen as a misfit, someone who wants to destroy the fabric of the community. Jenny is ambitious, brave and committed to her career, but will she sacrifice her friends, family and even her marriage to pursue her dream?
An emotional journey pathed with angst and prejudice, the characters are authentic and complex, and the plot is slow-paced and relentless. You empathise with Jenny and rile at her accusers, but the ending is hopeful.
A gritty and poignant story, which reflects the setting and time well, and demonstrates what it is like for a working wife in the 1960s, and the battles they endure to live life as they choose.