Glamorous debutantes, heartbreak and discovering just what is worth fighting for in the new historical novel from Sunday Times best seller Adele Parks.
It's 1914. Vivian, a young, impassioned debutante is hurried into a pedestrian marriage to cover a scandal. War breaks out on her wedding day - domestically and across Europe. Quick to escape the disappointment of matrimony, her traditionalist husband immediately enlists, and Vivian has no alternative than to take up the management and running of his estate - after all, everyone is required to do their bit. Even pretty, inadequately educated young wives.
Howard, a brilliant young playwright, rushes to the front to see for himself the best and the worst of humanity; he cannot imagine what the horror might be. In March 1916, when conscription becomes law, it is no longer enough for him to report on the war; it's a legal requirement that he joins the ranks. Howard refuses, becoming one of the most notorious conscientious objectors of the time. Disarmingly handsome, famous, articulate and informed, he's a threat to the government. Narrowly escaping a death sentence by agreeing to take essential work on Vivian's farm, it's only then Howard understands what is worth fighting for.
A romantic novel set against the horror of the First World War, marred only, for me, by a repetitive rather conceited narrative on occasions. The characters were drawn vividly, and the period conveyed with skill, albeit as stereotypes of class and gender in a changing era. The impact of what war does to individuals and communities is drawn in detail, leaving little to the imagination, yet the writers style of long descriptive paragraphs of horror and degradation failed to move me, and sometimes jarred, seeming trite. Worth a read and certainly well narrated.
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This was a bit of a slow starter for and very much a change in this author’s usual style. I’ve read quite a few of her books in the past but this is the first set in the past. I was a little unsure about the storyline at first but once I got into it enjoyed it. The main characters developed quite well though I can’t honestly say that I found them likeable because I didn’t but they held my attention. All in all a good ‘read’ (I had the audio version).