Riley Purefoy and Peter Locke are in the middle of the First World War, fighting for their country, their survival and their sanity in the trenches of Flanders. Left behind in England are their loved ones who do what they can at home for the war effort and themselves. Obsessive Julia waits for the return of her husband Peter. Nadine yearns for Riley, only eighteen when the war started, as they make promises they cannot keep in letters but hope all is not lost for them when the war is over. Louisa Young’s novel glides through class, loyalty and unfathomable survival at all costs.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book but was disappointed to see that the specialist surgery, an integral part of the story, was overlooked to the point of distraction. Life-changing medicine is what dreams are made of, I would have liked more about the amazing work attempted in what must have been horrific circumstances. 3/5
I thought this was a well researched book which I found very informative re pioneering maxillo-facial surgery in the aftermath of WW1 and a good love story as well. 4/5
My favourite so far – not a side of WW1 I knew much about and made me want to find out more – and also made me cry in a good way. 4/5
I thought the descriptions of life in the trenches probably painted a true picture of how things were but I found the end of the book to be weak and completely unlikely. Such a pity. 4/5
I’m not sure enjoyed is the right word to use when talking about this tragic love story, it was desperate and heartfelt and great at the same time. I loved all the characters in this book and thought they all jelled well together to demonstrate that war has no class system. I thought the author did a brilliant job of demonstrating how everyone was left damaged not just those with glaring physical injuries. 4/5
The sequel is out now – The Heroes’ Welcome. Published by Borough Press, an imprint of Harper Collins.