Set between November 1938 and June 1940, Norman’s War is an adult novel which may be classed as a work of historical fiction. It pays tribute to the strength and resolve of the British person when confronted with war. More importantly, it pays tribute to the real life heroes of the Dunkirk evacuation, which took place in May/June 1940; people who risked their lives to rescue over 338,000 troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. This informative and well-researched novel will appeal to those who remember the events and to a younger generation who have never heard the story. It builds in intensity towards the final chapter and cuts incisively into the hearts and emotions of those who fight and those who wait.
Norman is a pulp fiction writer and his life and the lives of those around him, in the village of Minster, will change significantly over a period of nineteen months. The novel accurately portrays events as they happen and exposes the fears and hopes of a close-knit community. Although the main protagonists are fictional, some of the characters are real.
The logs were stacked high: hungry consuming flames licked them before devouring them completely. The warmth from the fire made Norman a little drowsy: two pints and a poor night’s sleep contributed to his torpor.
Betty Foster stuck faithfully to Christmas tradition in the Bell Inn. “No bloody war’s gonna stop me putting up me tree and decorations,” she muttered as she dragged a pine tree through the front door.
“Come on Albert, shake a leg and give us a hand!”
The tree had grown this year in defiance and hope.
Betty decorated it with balls and bows and tinsel and shining star that twinkled in the fire’s light. An angel with gossamer wings, and a broken nose, balanced precariously on the top branch.
“Fix her bloody nose Betty,” Albert had yelled out from the cellar.
“Fix it yourself!” retorted Betty.
So the angel, with the broken nose of Christmas past, remained to watch over them and remind them of the night when Albert’s dart, aided by three pints of Guinness, had careered off the board and shattered the nose of the Angel of Christmas Past.
“When are you going to fix her nose?” said Harry as he placed his empty glass on the bar for a refill.”
“Never!” Betty pulled another pint pushing it across the bar.
“It’s gonna stay there to remind Albert he’s got to stop drinking the profits.”
Harry grinned and returned to his chair by the fire.
“It’s Christmas eve,” Albert Foster the genial host came over to the small group sitting by the blazing logs.
“Well buggar me! So it is,” said Tommy as he nudged Norman into wakefulness.
“Norm! Stop nodding off – it’s Christmas Eve – Albert just told me.”
Norman stretched his legs: yawned and stood up saluting the men.
“Okay lads. This one’s on me.” He gathered their glasses and shuffled his way to a waiting Betty.
“Four pints love. When are you going to fix the angel’s nose?” The glare in Betty’s eyes instantly reminded him of the errant dart.
“Sorry Betty. Forgot!”
Norman returned to his friends, placing the drinks on the table, he turned to Albert, “That bloody angel is hanging over you like the Sword of Damocles.”
“Don’t remind me,” Albert rolled his eyes and nodded in Betty’s direction.
After a few minutes, the conversation turned to the war. It seemed, to the residents of the village, that the war was all talk with very little action.