Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady by Jackie Skingley.
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For Jackie Skingley, adventure has been her quest since childhood. Life with the British army allowed Jackie to live all over the world and gain huge appreciation for different cultures and customs. Since 1999, Jackie and her husband have lived in the Charente region of South West France where Reiki, jewellery making, painting and mosaics, as well as writing keep her fully occupied. Member of the Charente Creative Writing Group, mother and grandmother.
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A compelling memoir of post-war Britain. Jackie Skingley grew up with limited career choices but joining the Women’s Royal Army Corps offered her a different life, living and working in a military world, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Packed full of stories reflecting the changing sexual attitudes prior to the arrival of the pill and the sexual revolution of the mid 60s, Skingley’s memoir denotes a shift in the political and social fabric of the era. Follow her relationships with the men in her life from finding her first true love, which through a cruel act of fate was denied her, to embarking on a path of recovery.
As the daughter of military parents who served during the Cold War, a lot of the places and scenes coincide with what my parents told me and where we lived during our time abroad and in the UK.
One thing that is always evident is the lack of equality when it comes to the treatment of women and men in the military. Where certain behaviour would mean the end of a career for a woman and yet just a reprimand for a man.
What I found interesting is how Skingley links her sexuality and sexual experience with nearly ever moment in her past. Of course that unfortunately also means having to go through harassment, sexual assault and in general a maligning of reputation. And perhaps the assumption by society that women aren’t complete until they become part of a couple. An almost compulsory next step, because to do otherwise would suggest something more nefarious.
That’s also something the author includes in her memoir – the treatment of homosexuals in the military, during a time in history when it was still a criminal offence to have a same-sex sexual relationship.
It’s a post-war memoir that depicts the rather limited options of women in this era. I am sure there are plenty of moments that speak to the hardship of what she had to endure as a woman in the military in post-war Britain. The Cold War service often gets forgotten in the general mention of history, unless it is a spy driven story.
Forgotten are the men and women, who were expecting another conflict after the violent events of WW2, which then melded into other just as serious threats to the country and the world. It’s important not to forget those nameless people.
Buy High Heels & Beetle Crushers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Chronos Books; pub date 14 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.
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