REVIEW: The Land Girl on Lily Road by Jillianne Hamilton

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Expecting a relaxing getaway at her family’s summer estate, pampered socialite Elsie Foster-Quinn signs up for the Women’s Land Army. When she ends up at a Somerset dairy farm instead, Elsie immediately butts heads with the grumpy farmer she now works for. Being a land girl in a small town is far more than the city girl bargained for.

Ben Grainger hates asking for help. When two land girls unexpectedly arrive on his farm, he quickly learns he can’t simply make them go away. He finds amusement in tormenting Elsie whose privileged life certainly didn’t prepare her for farm life. However, nothing could have prepared Ben for the feelings that suddenly emerge whenever the haughty little princess is near.

Why can’t he keep his eyes off her? And why can’t she stop thinking about him? Opposites attract—but is it true love?

Between the Germans bombing nearby Bath and a deadly disease rampaging through local farms, Ben and Elsie’s trust in each other is put to the ultimate test.

Dear Ms. Hamilton,

Given that Elsie was a little bit snooty in “The Seamstress on Cider Lane,” I wasn’t surprised to see that her book would be an opposites attract, social differences story. I liked the way that neither Elsie nor Ben were immediately attracted to each other and that their relationship grows over a series of months, but I can’t quite say that I was totally convinced of it.

Elsie Foster-Quinn’s plans to laze away her time at the family country estate as a member of the WLA gets upended when the Army requisitions it. Now she’s off to a dairy farm in Somerset along with Cockney Sheila who was in the month-long training session with Elsie. Farmer Ben Grainger is less than thrilled when assigned the two women but with no POWs available, much less British male workers, he resigns himself to his fate. He’s surprised that not only Sheila but also posh Elsie turn out to be hard workers. Double his surprise when Elsie volunteers to go with him to Bath to help transport people after the Luftwaffe bombs the city two nights in a row. Other things begin to bring the two closer and it’s only after that they discover how little their attempts to fool the people around them worked. But can upper class Elsie fit into farm life for good?

I know that the Women’s Land Army has figured in many other British series written recently but I haven’t read them so this was my first taste of the hard work done by these women during the war. Frankly I’m astonished that a single, month long course would be enough but then I guess most farm workers before them learned on the job so that’s probably how most WLA workers managed it too. Imagine how much worse the rationing would have been without their efforts.

Ben’s initial antagonistic attitude quickly disappears although Elsie retains a bit of her posh “I’m used to things being easier” feelings for a while longer. Good for Sheila in calling Elsie on this a time or two. I also wasn’t surprised to see Ben’s poor sister Vera have to handle so much of the domestic work as the males in the Grainger household would probably not have been brought up to be expected to dry dishes.

There were a few things that were mentioned only to then sink beneath the waves. Ben’s snarky “name” for Elsie is quickly dropped, his cows didn’t seem to mind the milking machine as much as Ben said they did, and what happened to his feelings of being a coward? I winced to see how the American soldiers section played out but I don’t doubt it either. Wouldn’t Elsie have gotten some lessons in how to judge and handle difficult men during her deb season or would she have been too young to have had one? And then just when Elsie and Ben were succumbing to their passions, along came two final conflicts.

Yes there were many things that occurred in the first two books in the series but this one just seemed to be packed a teensy bit too full. Plus despite them working together for months, I never got over the feeling that Ben and Elsie’s relationship was more than passion and proximity. I enjoyed the book, especially Sheila, but the dropped threads and other issues made this one not quite as satisfying for me. B

~Jayne

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Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 25 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there’s no TSTL characters and is currently reading more fantasy and SciFi.

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