A Tale of Love and War

Rose Burton-Hall is the daughter of a rich English army commander. Her life is glittering until world war two hits Britain and her father and brothers are enlisted. While they are fighting Rose's life changes and she finds solace in Jack. Together they embrace the moto carpe diem; seize the day, and embark on a furious but secret love affair with consequences that mean that Rose's life can never return to how it used be.
After nearly four months the story is finally finished! Please bear with me the first few chapters I promise it does get better. Please let me know what you think, I haven't had any feedback and would really appreciate some! :) xxx


5. Loss

As I mentioned, war meant that the farms didn't have enough workers. What I didn't realise was that this meant that the girls in our village were working to make up the numbers. I didn't really mix with the girls in the village much because, not having been to school together, we didn't have much in common. So not knowing what was going on down in the village I was extremely shocked when Charlotte told me she was going to work in a factory in town.
"Whatever for?" I asked her incredulously.
"It's what people are doing," she told me. "to help with the war effort. I feel so guilty hearing everyone in the village helping when I'm not." I looked down guiltily.
"What are people in the village doing?"
"Helping on the farms mostly, now that the men are fighting and can't."
I thought about this. I felt awful that everyone else was helping with the war effort except for me. I could help at the farms, I had no experience of any sort of work true, but they needed workers and with so few around they couldn't afford to be picky. I decided that I would go up to Mr Downs' farm in the morning and see if he had a job for me.
 I had a harder time convincing mother.
"Darling it's just so distasteful, working on a farm. It'll smell dreadful and be ever so dirty, what would your father say?" She looked disgusted at the idea. I said earlier that she was a wonderful mother, and she is, she just grew up in a generation where women never worked and she couldn't see how war was changing all of that.
"Mother everyone is doing it." I pleaded. "Father and the boys are fighting, don't you want me to do what I can to make sure they get home? The food these farms produce is going to the frontline!" I'd touched a nerve, but rather than producing the result I'd hoped for her face ashened and she point blank refused to discuss the matter any more. "The answer is no Rose." she said with such finality that I couldn't argue.
 So instead of arguing I sulked. I know it's not very ladylike, as my mother wasted no time in telling me, but as time passed I got really frustrated. Charlotte was going on about her new job at a munitions factory and all the great friends she'd made there and how proud she was to be helping the war effort, and here was I sat at home hosting afternoon tea for mothers posh friends from London. So as the first couple of months of the war were over, I was seeing less and less of Charlotte and more of my mothers 'delightfully charming' friends. Meanwhile, down in the village, there had been our first loss of the war; Mr and Mrs Davies' son was killed the Saar offensive, which had essentially been a French attack but father wrote to tell us that some British troops were being sent over too. Father told us that he hoped to be one of them because then he would be in charge of the entirety of the British forces. We hadn't heard if he'd been selected or not which worried mother, however with the dead there clearly having been identified - Billy Davies - I was sure that father must be ok. We all mourned the death of Billy in the church on Sunday. Mrs Davies was crying and her husband struggled to hold it together especially during the prayers. He was their only son and he was gone. I imagined how I would feel if it were father or one of the boys in that cold grey coffin, for whom the while lilies around the church were there for and blinked back my tears ashamed that I could cry for my own family who were perfectly fine when this boy's clearly weren't. Although I can't say I was one of the most upset as I still remembered the time that he tried to steal a kiss off of me in the playground, I felt the loss knowing that it would not be the last our village would have to bear. However the occasion did bring my brother James home for the funeral.
My mother fussed over James immensely in the week he stayed with us, I could tell it annoyed him but he tried to put up with it because she was so happy to see him. The night before he was due to leave he offered to walk with me down to the village.
"Mother please, it's barely even cold." He told her as she tried to force him to bring a coat.
 But of course she won and he was made to take a thick winter jacket, which I made fun of as we walked down the road.
He was very quiet, so quiet I could hear the crunch of every leaf under foot as we walked, I frowned, this wasn't like him. "James," I asked tentatively, "Is something the matter?"
He turned to look at me. "I don't know how to tell you this Rose, I hoped I wouldn't have to, but I thought I'd hear something this week and I haven't. Father went to France to lead the British Saar Offensive troops, we haven't heard anything since." I blinked. "No troops we know of are alive." He stated, but I couldn't take it in.
"But Billy Davies' family were contacted, we would've been if father had been killed!" I protested.
"Because we knew that Billy had been killed, his body was found by an officer who contacted U's with a list of the known fallen. Father, like most of them, is missing believed dead."
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