This time I want to blog about one of my new favorite shows, which by now isn’t so new.
Last autumn a new debuted on PBS called “Home Fires” which features a group of women living in England prior to and during WWII. Though they were fictional, I was blown away by the strength of these ladies. I grew up hearing about America’s home front and how the women were the ones to hold down the fort while the men were away. Living in England, though, being in such close proximity of Europe, the bombings, the constant terror…I couldn’t really imagine until I watched this show. The music, the cinematography, the acting, the characterization – just perfect. I was sad to learn that after season 2, Home Fires was not renewed and well not be returning. It did well in the ratings, but for whatever cockamamie reason, it will not be back.
(From this point on there are spoilers for Season 1.)
There are two characters that really struck a chord with me: Steph Farrow and Pat Simms.
Steph is a no-nonsense, farmer’s wife who has a son to raise, and who is her husband’s equal in every sense of the word. When her husband feels called to go to war, she encourages him to do so, and then she and their son run the farm while he is away. She is strong, intelligent, and capable. Her only stumbling block is that she can’t read. But with the help of a new teacher in town, she overcomes that as well.
Now Pat Simms, she too is a strong woman, but her strength is channeled in a different way. Pat is married to Bob Simms, a one-hit wonder novelist who is physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. He thinks he is some kind of English Ernest Hemingway. Bob might be mentally ill (it is alluded to when he is drugged with lithium salts by a well-meaning friend of Pat’s and he suddenly becomes docile - seriously, you have got to watch this show) and I feel sorry that he can’t receive the proper treatment, but whatever his reason, he has no right to be abusive to Pat. Pat is one of the sweetest, kindest, giving characters on the show, and she continues to be so, despite her circumstances. Through some quick thinking, the two of her friends manage to send Bob off to be a war correspondent, freeing Pat of him.
Though I love Steph, it is Pat who has become my favorite. She is in a similar situation that the heroine of my Great Depression novel is. Divorce was looked down upon, society couldn’t intervene, and Pat had no place to turn to for help.
Though Home Fires was only a two season show, I look forward to watching the second season. I hear there is a cliff-hanger ending that will no doubt frustrate me because the questions will never be answered, but it will be worth watching it.