I must do a count. But in the meantime:
She shut her mind to the bloodsoaked years of 1916 and 1917. She would not go back. The white warmth of the eggs in her hand, and the ones already nested in her apron were the only signs she would listen to. And, like the hens that persisted in their laying through the cold Spring, and within earshot of shelling, Juliet would safely deliver her baby despite the war, and they would finally be able to leave the town and go west. They could go as far west as it took - to the coast if necessary or across the Channel. They could find their mother's cousins.
There is a lot here. We have pretty much the whole thrust of the back story. Bad years in the war, Juliet pregnant, an English mother. Much to unravel. I think it works fine.
By the way, writing this has turned me all around. I had a look at the first couple of lines and then downloaded them to a word document and it turns out, in that format, the lines don't hang together at all. Of course, the chapter is more or less written, but considering it in this mircocosm form encourages rewriting that doesn't then fit with the shape of the chapter, and the direction of the content. No matter. This can all be sorted out later.
All the questions about these sister posed here make up the bulk of the novel (in terms of the characters of the sisters). We are still to meet a hero. Do we need a hero? I have already written one so he will enter soon. Could it? Should it? Yes, a love story.
It did occur to me once, when listening to the radio about the film Titanic, that love is a great carrier of story. Mikey Robbins (when on Triple J) was arguing that he thought the love story between Rose and Jack was un-necessary for the story, that ship alone was enough. Perhaps, for some readers or viewers. But then, one Christmas, when I was reading Stalingrad (for fun), I was asked by a man what the hell I was doing READING Stalingrad. Not a story for a woman clearly. Women read romance (or equivilant apparently). Well, there are lots of stories that need a Rose and a Jack to tell them to the right demographic then, in my estimation. So I want to tell some of the stories of Australian soldiers on the Western Front in World War One. And I need a romance to set it around. Stay turned for the arrival of the hero. Any minute now ...