‘My Gentle War‘ is the story of a young girl and her family. Reluctantly leaving her comfortable home in Essex and saying goodbye to her friends and family, by the actions of an unhinged little man with a moustache, she travels to Wales with her two brothers. Her mother is half-Welsh and her cousin, ‘Aunt Sal’ invites the children to stay in the relative safety of the Valleys until the war is over. Joy misses her parents – her mother works in munitions while her father has joined The Royal Air Force and is ‘somewhere’ in France, but grows to love Wales, the people and nature around her and discovers the joy of dancing and those magical tomes called books.
As Joy said: Writing ‘My Gentle War’ was a nostalgic journey down ‘memory lane’. I again saw: Mum making almond tart while gyrating her hips to Edmundo Ross’s rumba on the wireless; Dad dead-heading his roses before ‘Going away to war to fight Hitler!’; my brothers flicking their cigarette cards down the hallway…Experienced the freedom found living on a mountain in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales; felt that affinity with my Welsh relatives…Felt elation at dancing on the stage; and great sadness when dear cousin Islwyn was killed in a mine coal-fall, and later, brave airman, Uncle Bernard, was killed when his plane was shot down. Fortunately, wars end, and when World War II did, we were all reunited, happy and stirred but not broken!