I’ve been putting off writing this book because the reason I loved it so much is somewhat of a spoiler. It’s a novella that packs a punch though, so I hugely recommend it even if this review ends up incoherent.

Mr Tiller has fought a war, and he has returned a changed man. Something terrible, beyond my experience, has befallen him.

The Arrival of Missives is set in a rural village after the end of WWI. Many villages and farms lost so many men of working age to the war, and this story is told from the view of Shirley, a teenager who senses this is her opportunity for change. She doesn’t want to be a farmer’s wife and she’s infatuated with Mr Tiller, the new teacher in town. She sees him as a chance to better herself, they can both be teachers together, but she is warned by the villagers that he was not left whole by the war.

Of course, the assumption is that he was traumatised by the war like so many other, physically or mentally or both. But the story takes a stranger turn and he brings a prophecy, one he wants Shirley’s help in thwarting.

There will be nobody to keep me warm if I do not find a way to make myself what men want.

The war triggered huge social change, and in part this story explores that, against a backdrop of May Day, an old pagan festival and the symbol of the old days. But there is also a feminist commentary on science fiction, a conclusion which left me with a big grin on my face.

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Book Source: Purchased