Castles in the Air-Alison Ripley Cubitt

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This was a fascinating journey from World War II right through the 1950s, 60s and 70s told in two halves- the first through a series of letters written by the author’s mother as the family travelled the world as part of overseas operations during and after the war, and the second via a mixture of memories and diary anecdotes.

The diary entries give a compelling insight into life on board ship in a time when travel took weeks or even months and builds up a picture of Molly’s personality and her friendship with her father’s friend Steve, which endured long into her adulthood. The second half gives more of a perspective on how circumstance can affect relationships as Molly struggles to adapt to a new life in New Zealand with her husband.

The pressures of a job which involves long, continuous night-shifts and an increasing dependency on prescription drugs (which bizarrely were not controlled between GPs in those days and therefore were easily acquired in dangerous amounts) sees Molly’s world become one of turmoil and increasing anxiety and eventually takes its toll on her relationship with her husband.

What unfolds depicts, in unflinching detail, the vulnerability of the human soul. In sharing her family’s journey, both literally and metaphorically, Alison Ripley Cubitt offers a frank and honest account of enduring love and heartache.