Posted by Peter [Blogger] at 27/02/2012 11:40:12
In 1914 eighteen year old Riley enlists and finds himself amongst the mud and blood of the battlefields of Northern France and Flanders. This is essentially a love story about two people divided by social class and by the war. The book examines the themes of love, class divisions in Edwardian Britain and on the battlefield, homosexuality, the role of women and the development of medicine and surgery.
It follows Riley and Nadine and their relationship. He is a poor, working class boy who forms a childhood friendship with Nadine, born into a rich family. The friendship develops into a romantic attachment as they get older. Circumstances compel Riley into enlisting into the army where he serves under the command of Peter Locke. As the story evolves, the lives of Riley, Nadine, Peter, his cousin Rose and his spoilt wife Julia become entwined. This is a romance but the horrors of life in the trenches, and the effect that war has on the soldiers, are well observed. There are also some fairly gruesome descriptions of the amazing first attempts at facial reconstruction surgery. The injured men are treated as guinea pigs, with inevitable failures as well as successes.
Overall, this is a very moving read, wonderfully written and with a realistic sense of the horror of war. To anyone who enjoyed ‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks or Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration’ trilogy, I thoroughly recommend this novel.
Available as a book.
Available as a spoken word CD
Posted by Peter [Blogger] at 24/02/2012 14:57:42
I heard an extract of this book on Radio 4’s ‘Book at Bedtime’ and immediately wanted to find out more. This is the first novel by architect Will Wiles and it is superb. The words ‘different’ and ‘quirky’ immediately spring to mind when I think about the content. The central character-who remains nameless throughout the book is asked by Oskar, a...
Posted by at 21/02/2012 17:04:08
The novel was supposed to be inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. As a child on reading Jane Eyre, Jean resented the way in which Creole women were represented as mad and this inspired her to present Bertha (Mrs Rochester) from an alternative perspective. Like Bertha, Jean came from a Creole background and grew up in the West Indies island of Dominica.
The story is...
Posted by Gerdette [Blogger] at 15/02/2012 09:25:30
This is a well-crafted novel which I really enjoyed. There are many themes woven in around the story of Victoria Jones. A veteran of the child care system pushed around foster homes, children’s hostels until finally being pushed out into the world at eighteen.
Victoria is remarkable young woman with little or no experience of anything other than the worst aspects of foster...