The Safest Place in London
On a frozen January evening in 1944, Nancy Levin, and her three-year-old daughter, Emily, flee their impoverished East London home as an air raid siren sounds. Not far away, 39-year-old Diana Meadows and her own child, three-year-old Abigail, are lost in the black-out as the air raid begins. Finding their way in the jostling crowd to the mouth of the shelter they hurry into the safety of the underground tube station. Mrs Meadows, who has so far sat out the war in the safety of London's outer suburbs, is terrified - as much by the prospect of sheltering in an Eastend tube station as of experiencing a bombing raid first hand...Far away Diana's husband, Gerald Meadows finds himself in a tank regiment in North Africa while Nancy's husband, Joe Levin has narrowly survived a torpedo in the Atlantic and is about to re-join his ship. Both men have their own wars to fight but take comfort in the knowledge that their wives and children, at least, remain safe...But in wartime, ordinary people can find themselves taking extreme action - risking everything to secure their own and their family's survival, even at the expense of others...Sheltering in the underground station the two mothers and their terrified children find themselves positioned next to each on the platform as the first bombs fall. It will be a night that changes all their lives forever...
Maggie Joel has been writing fiction since the mid-1990s and her short stories have been widely published in Southerly, Westerly, Island, Overland and Canberra Arts Review, and broadcast on ABC radio. The Safest Place in London is her fourth novel, the previous titles being The Past and Other Lies, The Second Last Woman in England and Half the World in Winter.