The Alien Corn
Clare Flynn, author
They faced up to the challenges of war – but can they deal with the troubles of peace? Canadian, Jim Armstrong, married in haste during the second world war, after a one-night stand. When his wife and their small son join him in Canada it’s four years since they’ve seen each other. War bride, Joan discovers Jim has no intention of the family returning to England. She struggles to adapt to life on a remote farm in Ontario, far from her family and cold-shouldered by Jim’s mother. Jim, haunted by his wartime experiences in Italy, Iingering feelings for a former lover, and the demands of the farm, begins to doubt his love for Joan. From the rolling farmland of Ontario to the ravaged landscapes of war-torn Italy, this sweeping love story is the sequel to The Chalky Sea.
Flynn follows The Chalky Sea with this enjoyable sequel, set in post-WWII England and Canada. Canadian farmer Jim Armstrong has returned to Ontario in 1945, after serving five years in the army in Europe, and is joined by his British wife, Joan, and their three-year-old son, Jimmy, who reunite with him in Canada after being apart for three years. Joan’s ability to adapt to her new environment is thwarted by the hostility of Jim’s mother, Helga, and the tepid offer of friendship from Alice, Jim’s former fiancée who jilted him to marry his now-deceased brother, Walt, a casualty of the war. The passion between Joan and Jim keeps their marriage alive as Joan realizes how important the farm is to Jim. Bonding over shared experiences, Alice and Joan develop a tenuous friendship as Helga finally curbs her animosity towards Joan. But Joan is afraid that Jim’s emotional distance, a result of an aborted affair during the war as well as his reluctance to share wartime traumas, may prevent them from having a lasting relationship. Flynn’s novel captures the obstacles faced both by soldiers returning from battle and by those close to them. Readers of the first book will relish the chance to spend more time with the characters, and new readers will find plenty to savor. (BookLife)