This work of historical fiction is a highly readable, earthy, unique love story set in the midst of the First World War. It has a very “real” feel to it and I realized halfway through that much of the novel is true! The characters are well developed and memorable. There is some fascinating medical stuff in it that was new to me. I struggle with how much to reveal about the book, because much of the pleasure of reading it is in discovering how the story unfolds. So I won’t say much, except that parts of it may not be for the feint of heart.
Louisa Young has not included much about the battle details of the war itself, but rather has focussed on how people coped personally. She deals with relationships and what it was like when your loved ones went “over there”. And the myriad of reasons why they went. So many personal battles were fought in the living rooms and towns where no shrapnel flew, and the medical people who were ministering to the dead and dying were as affected as the soldiers in uniform. Young captures the longings and loss of war so well, and how a generation could never be the same again.
Included here are two links about medical advancements that you will find fascinating to read after you have finished the book if you don’t want any spoilers.