The Very Thought of You is set during the second world war in England. A young girl evacuated from London is sent with a group of others to a big country house where the unhappily married couple who own the house have decided to distract themselves from their unhappiness by opening a school for evacuees. The point of view shifts from young Anna to several of the adults in her new life, as well as her mother, left behind in London. Lonely Anna is deeply influenced by the adult relationships she only half-understands, and begins to hero-worship one of her teachers, the owner of the house, Thomas Ashton.
The book is a lovely period piece and gives us glimpse into several different kinds of lives during the war years. However, I found it a little unconvincing, especially in the later chapters which show the long-term impact of the war years on Anna’ life. I found it hard to believe that her obsession with Thomas Ashton went as deep and lasted as long as portrayed here — the conclusion didn’t seem to be borne out by what had gone before. This was an interesting book, but not, for me, a compelling one.