My Favourite Book of 2021

Posted on 6th January, 2022

All through December, authors were sharing their favourite books of the year on social media. I might be a bit behind everyone else, but today I'm delighted to share my review of my favourite book of 2021 – Edie’s Home for Strays by Gracie Taylor.



This is a Second World War saga centred around two very different women – young Edie, who has just joined the Land Army, and the apparently cool and distant Prue, who is given no choice but to open her home to Edie and a pair of evacuee children, none of whom she wants. The story follows Edie as she settles into her new community and gets to grips with her job on the farm. Along the way, her warm heart and imagination mean she can’t help looking ways to help others, sometimes with unexpected results.


The great strength of this book lies in the quality of the writing. Filled with details of the period and also with beautiful descriptions, it has an enthralling sense of time and place.


The characters are all well-rounded and they learn lessons about themselves and the wider world as plot-lines develop, making them grow and change as individuals. Edie is compassionate, determined and thoroughly relatable. Prue, apparently cool and distant, gradually starts to unbend, only to believe she has made a hideous mistake in so doing. Sam is a wonderful character – gruff and outspoken, not generally liked, but a thoroughly decent bloke underneath. And full marks to Gracie Taylor for her depiction of Patricia. So often, the ‘baddie’ character is over-written and a bit of a caricature, but not here. Patricia is a difficult person, but in a completely believable way.


Overall, this is a beautifully written story with a strong feel-good factor. It has warmth, energy and humour and is packed with emotion.


It’s not just my favourite book of last year. It's the best saga published in 2021 - and more than that - it’s the best by miles.


* * * *


On the Home Front, one girl is determined to make a difference.

But Edie’s hopes of serving overseas are dashed when she’s sent to be a Land Girl in a sleepy Cumbrian village.


Prue has shut the world out since her son went away to fight. Yet when she’s asked to take in a Land Girl and two little evacuees from London, she has no choice.

Edie’s heart breaks, seeing the children’s cold welcome. But when the evacuees take in a stray puppy, even Prue can’t say no.


It’s not long before Edie realises Applefield Manor could become a sanctuary to all those without a home in wartime. But can she persuade Prue to open her heart, and her home?


* * * *


Gracie Taylor is a pen name for Lisa Firth, who also writes award-winning contemporary romantic comedies as Mary Jayne Baker and uplifting women’s fiction as Lisa Swift. Edie’s Home for Strays (published in North America as Edie's Home for Orphans) is her first historical novel.


Link to Edie's Hoe for Strays on Amazon


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