A synopsis of “NOW HISTORY”, a book by Betsy Wing
A unique perspective on the shattering events of World War II as seen by women and children whose lives are changed by being “outside of history.” When their men leave for the war zones they are left to deal with the certainties of their comfortable Southern lives. Learning how to go on in the face of not knowing what the men are going through, they sense that their bodies are safe on the home front but their lives will change forever and nothing can protect them from devastating grief.
Because of the length of time it takes for news from the front to reach Marguerite and her mother, Lelia Blair, they feel they no longer exist in the same world as that of the men they love. As part of her War Effort Lelia Blair offers to share their home with a mysterious stranger, Jacob Brewer, a Resistance fighter who fled for his life from Europe. Marguerite is tantalized by Jacob, whose very difference begins to erase the boring, lonely details of her young life. She senses that in his presence her safety is gone.
In this story of Virginia in wartime, new avenues open up for African-American domestic servants and the women who depend on them as they had once depended on their men necessarily learn to “do without.” They must decide in many ways what is worth keeping and what can be discarded. Surrounded by ominous overtones of facts not yet known, the women’s lives are lightened by children whose innocence, both serious and foolish keeps laughter in their lives. Both dark- and light-skinned, those children start on their paths to the people they will become and, blessed by the grownups unasked-for freedom from the way things have always been, deeply absorb a sense of being true equals in the game of life.