No event in the ingenuity of mankind can quite change lives the way a war can. Wars can crush the strong and strengthen the weak. It changes the course of history. It can shift the destiny of entire nations. War can, just as actively, change the fate, dynamics, and trajectory of individual lives and families.
Storm Sparrows is a story of a cockney family living in the East End of London, and its struggles with the crushing deprivation of poverty and horror of two world wars. The reader will witness the Chester's daunting struggle to escape the misery and heartache they were born into. The journey almost destroys them.
With her father and brother lost to war, young Maggie lives alone with her dominating mother, Rose. At the end of WW1, Maggie meets man-about-town Frank Chester, and they fall in love and marry. With little resources, they gratefully take up Rose’s offer of Maggie’s old room and look forward to a happy future together. It does not take long for Rose to discover Frank is a fraud, and her incessant interference causes dissension in the tiny house. Frank directs his frustration onto Maggie. His violent drunken outbursts and infidelity, together with her mother’s dominance, brings Maggie to her knees. As children come along, she is overwhelmed with despair.
WWII breaks out, turning London into an inferno. Following an air raid, Frank rescues Lili Stewart from the rubble of a church where her wealthy husband and father lay lifeless beside her. He becomes infatuated with her. Determined to win her heart, he abandons Maggie and their six children without compunction. When Maggie dies of cancer, Frank moves the rebellious children in with him and Lili. The loss of their beloved mother and the hatred for their father brings defiant conflict, but Lili becomes their champion. With Lili by their side, the children slowly begin a road to recovery where they learn to forgive and love.
Storm Sparrows is a highly emotive read about tragedy, triumph, and redemption. Thompson writes a compelling story about individuals who, like the vulnerable sparrow, learn to master even the toughest of storms.
“ This is the saga of a three generational family and how they evolve over a period of several decades. Frank Chester is a struggling father of six children; a complex man...heart of gold, warm and funny, yet he could be a violent, out of control tyrant. The early years of the children's lives were traumatic. Apart from living in poverty and enduring the constant bombing raids on London, their father abandoned them when he couldn't cope with his own life, and their mother died at an early age. But life changed dramatically when Lili came into their lives and altered the course of their lives forever. "
On this very emotional roller coaster journey, I came to care deeply for the Chester family. They each fought their own demons, had tragedies and triumphs, but in the end, they emerge as a close-knit and loving family.
— JR, Los Angeles, Amazon Readers Review
Marie Thompson is a transported Londoner living in California. She has published short stories, poetry, and essays. Clipton Secrets is her first book.