Thursday, 12 January 2012

Wartime sacrifice - land girls and 'leathering'

My thoughts have been way back in the 1940s with the Women's Land Army today, while I've been trudging around doing mundane stuff thanks to two bits of reading matter.
Firstly, as reserach for my current fiction project of the moment I've been reading Angela Huth's 'Land Girls', a novel I wouldn't have touched under any other set of circumstances.
I was so gripped I had to take it with me to the supermarket so I could get through the last 10 pages in the cafe. The book was published in the early 1990s but you're more likely to have heard of the film, which starred the excellent Rachel Weisz.
It really is a touching story, without being sentimental, and is beautifully written. The way Angela Huth has managed to evoke the changing seasons on her imagined Dorset farm is particularly good.
Quite direct about sex too, which surprised me. Huth's Land Army girls have sex lives and, in the case of one character, Prue, are pretty direct about the need for a "shag" (North American readers note, that's getting laid - not the seabird of the same name). 
Huth's novel is not a lot like the spanko spy adventure story I'm trying to magic up. My heroine Beryl is selfless and shares Prue's interest in outdoor sex, but she's also going to get into lots of scrapes fighting Nazis.
And there will be lots of CP too, of course. Which is where the second bit of reading comes in, discovered tonight on DJ Black's top notch Voice in the Corner
DJ relates a snippet about a Land Army volunteer on a Norfolk farm where land girls had to become part of farm family life. Totally part of, including taking a leathering - a strapping - when it was necessary. Inspiring stuff...

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