In the brief golden years of King Edward VII's reign, Rosie McCosh and her three very different sisters are growing up in an eccentric household in Kent, with their neighbours the Pitt boys on one side and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood adventure are shadowed by the approach of war that will engulf them on the cusp of adulthood.
When the boys end up scattered along the Western Front, Rosie faces the challenges of life for those left behind. Confused by her love for two young men - one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace - she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she and her sisters build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?
Louis de Bernières' magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as they strike out to seek what happiness can be built from the ruins of the old world.
©2015 Random House Audiobooks (P)2015 Random House Audiobooks
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if I am honest this is a difficult one to review. the story meandered, it kept me fairly entertained for the most part, some parts I thought were laboured and did not add much to the overall story. perhaps there are deeper meanings that I need to think about and search for, I also felt that there was lot left unsaid which left me feeling a bit disconnected to the characters. the narrator however was very good, excellent characterisation and conveyed the essence of the characters very well.
"Edwardian England painted in a romantic canvas"
The first of a planned trilogy of novels, Starts with the death of Queen Victoria and the start of the reign of the King Edward. We meet the characters of this story at a coronation party in the garden of Mr and Mrs Hamilton McCosh of Eltham and their four daughters, Rosie, Christabel, Ottilie and Sophie. The American Pendennis boys, Sidney, Albert and Ashbridge, the Pitts, Daniel and Archie, others will join the story but here is the backbone, we see them grow, love, go to war, suffer and rejoice in life. this is a family saga of epic scale. all the character are likable people that confront life the best they can, there is no twisted evil characters the war and empire produce enough sorrow to compensate in that department.
The stories seem and feel like personal anecdotes of Bernières family, and he has confirmed this. some of the events are described by the author, others through diaries and the characters themselves. This works like a good conversation, we see small details like families worrying about the rain or cold when they know their boys are in trenches, the guilt of not being there with them; of forgetting a prayer.
This is the story of a good family in a terrible period, the plot is the events in their lives and their struggles to live good lives, a simple and beautiful desires that is hard to attain. My only negative is that at times the romantic sweetness is too much :but that probably is because I am a little jaded.
"The dust that falls from dreams"
A rather morbid book concerning an middle-class family and the tragedy of the Great War and the related problems of love and disappointment in the following years. I thought that it plodded along and didn't have the flow of other devices Bernieres stories I have read previously.
"Rambling but entrancing"
The story thread that runs through this epic sometimes gets lost and I lost interest, but then a new tale would draw me back. Brilliant research and I learnt new things about WW1 and its impact on UK society. Excellent relaxing listening, beautifully read and a happy ending 😊
"Long winded and unconvincing"
I absolutely love every Louis de Bernieres book, but am left disappointed by this one. The narrative is too long winded. You never feel any empathy for the characters despite their experiences during a tragic period of history. Through sheer loyalty to the author and a misguided belief that surely an anthropological message will come through were the only reasons I pursued till the end. I don't believe an unknown author would have got this published.
No I would not, it is a lifeless story, it has a rich and large cast of characters and I could not find myself to care much about any one of them. I broke off mid way through to read on line reviews, wondering if I should bother continuing. Many echoed my own feelings while others said they were initially bored but became engrossed later in the book so I persevered, I wish I hadn't.
This story is a washed out colourless painting when compared to Captain Corelli.... There is no real emotion, you are not transported to the era, he does not illustrate the horrifying wartime years or the impact they have on his characters. There is mo passion, no fire.
I see no point of the two narrators, it brings noting to the book and in the latter part of the book Anita Jay stops reading Rosie's sections by the last quarter of the book for no obvious reasons. Although not terrible neither of the narrators are the best in my library and the tone of voice etc just adds to the flatness of the story, they fail to bring any spark to the story. Doesn't compare to Dan Stevens
After reading Captain Corelli this story is a let down. Certainly won't be listening to it again.
"Matches Capt Corelli"
I found this addictive where every character convincing. Best of his books since Capt Corelli's Mandolin
"I think Louis is treading water...."
OK, so Louis is a talented writer. This is not good. It passes the time, but never really ever engages the reader whole heartedly. A half listen/ half read. It won't make you long to get back to it. I'd avoid it.
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