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Coventry by Helen Humphreys

In this literary podcast, Cathi Bond talks with Helen Humphreys. Her new novel, Coventry, is an astounding account of the night the Germans bombed the British manufacturing town. The story is told from the point of view of Harriet–a fortysomething widow who lost her husband during the First World War, and is still numbly walking the streets of Coventry, in a permanent state of emotional shell shock. Maeve offers a completely different perspective. An only child of wealthy parents, Maeve has a child out of wedlock, and instead of opting for a respectful existence, she takes to the road with her baby boy, Jeremy, in tow, living a roving life. Weeks prior to the bombing, they’ve arrived in Coventry; Jeremy has taken a job in a factory. Maeve is along for love and support. She decides to go to the pub to kill some time, while Jeremy takes his turn, walking the roof of Coventry Cathedral, watching for German planes. While he’s up there, he meets Harriet. It’s a beautiful night, full of brilliant light, casting what’s known as a ‘bomber’s moon’. Harriet sees something approaching. There is a flash of light and all hell breaks loose.

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