A follow up to Elisa Segrave’s The Diary of a Breast which detailed her battle with breast cancer, in this book she explores her mother’s life. Anne Segrave was an alcoholic and Elisa did not have an easy relationship with her. In her last years as Anne disappeared into dementia Elisa began the daunting task of sorting through her mother’s belongings. She discovered that just like her; her mother had kept diaries for most of her life. Through the diaries Elisa discovered not only the privileged upbringing and spoiled childhood that her mother had enjoyed, but also a secret life during the war as a WAAF officer part of the code breaking and intelligence operation based at Bletchley Park and at Bomber Command. Through the diaries Elisa gains new understanding and insight into her mother’s life and her choices both before and after the war. Elisa discovers a woman of great intelligence and restless spirit and learns of her mother’s loneliness and search for love with both men and women. She also observes her descent into alcoholism and battles with depression and anxiety. Gradually she comes to understand and empathise with her mother who had spent many years grieving for her son who drowned as a toddler, her older son who committed suicide and the loss of her father and brother when she was a young child. A fascinating glimpse into a time of great change for women and a perfect read for fans of William Boyd’s Restless or Sebastian Faulks Charlotte Grey.
Follow the link below to see my original review and those of other reading panel members at Lovereadinguk.
The Girl from Station X is out now in hardback from Union Books.