Youth at the Gate: A young woman’s memoir of life during the First World War by Ursula Bloom
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Overview: The touching true account of a young woman’s life on the home front during the First World War.
Ursula Bloom movingly describes how the Great War forever changed the lives of ordinary people in Britain. When Ursula says goodbye to both her suitor and brother as they go to war, patriotic excitement soon turns to worry and despair.
This memoir vividly brings to life the experiences of people struggling to live through World War I. Ursula Bloom’s honest and heartfelt story shows us the challenges of food rationing and the constant bombing by Zeppelins overhead. Rumours of German spies abound, and even Ursula and her mother find themselves under suspicion by their neighbours.
Ursula’s autobiography also looks at the realities of life in the early twentieth century, when operations were carried out on the kitchen table, a pregnant woman shouldn’t be seen in public, and an officer and a private couldn’t mix under the same roof.
Not only the realities of war force an innocent Ursula to grow up. She must face her mother’s serious illness, the demons of her husband-to-be, and the snobbery of his wealthy family. There are lighter moments too, such as the tale of the Bloom’s fictitious maid, Emily, who they have to invent rather than admit that they can’t afford a servant.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Biographies & Memoirs