Genie Watkins is a Birmingham kid with a sharp tongue, an unflinching sense of loyalty and an uncanny habit of being at the centre of the action. She longs for a proper family like her friend Teresa’s, and works hard to try and keep everyone happy. But it’s August 1939. As war breaks out Genie has to fight even harder for her family’s survival. Her father and brother gone, she takes on responsibility for her mother, who at first finds the war strangely liberating … Add to this the problems of her uncle Len – ‘not quite the full shilling’ – and her glamorous songbird auntie Lil, and Genie has her work cut out to hold together the family’s already rocky existence.
As the bombing begins over Birmingham, even the happy moments of singing with her Nan or sharing secrets with Teresa are threatened. So is the precious, loving relationship she has begun with Joe, a young pilot. The Blitz seems about to destroy not just the face of the city but all that is familiar. But from amidst the rubble come extraordinary surprises, glimpses of hope – and, above all, powerful resilience.