Wedding Bells at Goodwill House (Goodwill House #6) by Fenella J. Miller #ARC #BookReview #WorldWarIIFiction

January 1941

As the residents of Goodwill House feel the hard bite of winter, land girl Charlie Somiton is still glad of the warm friendships she has made there. Not just her fellow land girls, Daphne and Sal, but also dashing local G.P. Dr James Willoughby who looked after Charlie when she was injured at work.

Charlie likes Dr Willoughby, but she fears that there can never be more between them than just friendship. Because despite her upper-class background, Charlie carries with her a terrible secret that she can never share with James.
Dr Willoughby knows Charlie is dealing with something painful and he wishes she’d confide in him more. The war is getting ever closer and James knows all too well that life is short and happiness should be grabbed with both hands.
But is Charlie brave enough to risk her secret and her heart or will her past ruin her chances for a happy future?

Wedding Bells at Goodwill House (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the World War II historical fiction series Goodwill House (Click here for my previous reviews) While you don’t have to have read all the books in the series, some of the previous stories and characters do pop up in the current volume. The War Girls of Goodwill House (Amazon) and New Recruits at Goodwill House (Free on Amazon Prime Reading) are the previous books in the series.

There are a lot of World War II historical fiction/romance (light on the romance) stories out there, yet I find the Goodwill House series stands out above the rest. Lady Joanna comes from the upper crust of society yet allows land girls to board at the estate to help in the war effort. The girls work on local farms since most of the men who normally do so are in the service. Joanna has taken in teenaged twins and her daughter, Sarah, is in London studying to be a doctor. The focus on the books is on Joanna and a select few of the girls staying at Goodwill House.

This time around, it’s Charlie’s turn for romance, rather reluctantly at first. She hints at a sordid event in her past, and soon opens up to the other land girls that she had been raped. In a prior book, she suffered a concussion and stayed with the local physician while she healed, and later, she suffered wounds after being shot by a German fighter when she was running through a farm field to hide. She’s developed feelings for the doctor, but because of her past, doesn’t know if she could ever be intimate with a man.

Another good thing about the Goodwill House books is that the war isn’t a peripheral thing. There are frequent bombings since their village is near an air base, and buildings are hit and glass is blown out of windows. Despite living in a grand manor, much of the house must remain unheated due to said broken windows and the rationing of coal. Joanna realizes that Goodwill House is just too big and impractical to take care of and has plans to move to a smaller house in the near future. She’s also hoping that taking a step down in society will lead the young RAF pilot John back to her, whom she loves but he’s rather tired of the class wars and considers himself a socialist.

Despite the frequent air raids and bombings and rationing, there isn’t a lot of complaining and despite all the hardships, most everyone maintains a positive attitude. The Greatest Generation continues to amaze me at what they went through, when even in their darkest hour, they show a resilience and never feel a sense of hopelessness. Perhaps that’s why World War II fiction is so popular. Goodwill House is certainly a feel-good series despite the fact that it takes place during the war. I can’t wait for the next volume!

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley and Boldwood Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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