A black and white 1940’s Getty image inspired Maggie Joel in writing her novel ‘The Safest Place in London’.
The title refers to the shelters built in London during the Blitz. The title is somewhat ironic because as Maggie tells me the shelters were not necessarily as safe as they were considered to be. This fact is born out in an incident presented in the novel when two women from different walks of life, symbolic of how war affects everyone whatever their station, find themselves sharing a shelter when an attack hits. What follows are twists and turns which again demonstrate wars devastating impact.
Maggie Joel is originally from England where she lived for 25 years ‘near a vibrant country bookstore’. With that proximity to a book shop it’s no surprise Maggie became a writer. Maggie eventually left England to take up a job with Foxtel in Australia.
Maggie has crafted a novel with a terrible twist we do not see coming, the story of two women, lifestyles apart, one rich, one poor that are united by the fact they are both mothers of young daughters. A meeting in a shelter during a raid sets in place a number of events which encapsulate the feeling of the times.
The Safest Place in London by Maggie Joel is published by Allen and Unwin.