I know I keep saying I am not going to read WWI and WWII books and yet I keep contininuing to read WWI and WWII books. What can I write? I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy of The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott at no charge for my honest review.
About The Poppy Wife:
Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (November 5, 2019)
In the tradition of Jennifer Robson and Hazel Gaynor, this unforgettable debut novel is a sweeping tale of forbidden love, profound loss, and the startling truth of the broken families left behind in the wake of World War I.
1921. Survivors of the Great War are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. Francis is presumed to have been killed in action, but Edie believes he might still be alive.
Harry, Francis’s brother, was there the day Francis was wounded. He was certain it was a fatal wound—that he saw his brother die—but as time passes, Harry begins questioning his memory of what happened. Could Francis, like many soldiers, merely be lost and confused somewhere? Hired by grieving families, Harry returns to the Western Front to photograph gravesites. As he travels through battle-scarred France and Belgium gathering news for British wives and mothers, he searches for evidence of Francis.
When Edie receives a mysterious photograph of Francis, she is more convinced than ever he might still be alive. And so, she embarks on a journey in the hope of finding some trace of her husband. Is he truly gone? And if he isn’t, then why hasn’t he come home?
As Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to the truth about Francis and, as they do, are faced with the life-changing impact of the answers they discover.
Artful and incredibly moving, The Poppy Wife tells the unforgettable story of the soldiers lost amid the chaos and ruins, and those who were desperate to find them.
You can purchase The Poppy Wife at Harper Collins
About the Author:
Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history, with a PhD from Durham University. Born in the UK, Caroline currently resides in France. The Poppy Wife is partially inspired by her family history.
Any book dealing with either World War is going to be a difficult read. WWI has the Somme and other horrifying instances of using men as cannon fodder and WWII has the Nazis. When soldiers go off to war so many of them don’t return. So many death notices are sent back home but what about those that are missing in action? Or those reported as dead but there is no body to bury? What do these families do to find peace?
Harry and Francis are brothers that went off to war. It was definitely not at all what they expected. And it doesn’t end well for either one as Harry sees Francis killed during a battle but his body is not found. Harry comes home and Francis’ widow needs to know for sure that he is dead – but without a grave she is always wondering. Could her husband still be alive? She is not the only war wife asking this question.
After the war there is a constant stream of relatives of the missing crossing the channel trying to find some proof. Or searching through hospitals hoping against hope that their loved one might yet be alive. Harry has a job where he photographs graves or places of import for people and on one trip he meets a woman searching against hope for her husband. At the same time his sister in law is trying ascertain whether his brother is truly dead as she has been sent a photograph in the mail. It’s of Frances but when was it taken? Could he be alive? She has to know. I am sure that with any situation involving a lost loved one the not knowing has to be exponentially worse than seeing a grave or body. You will always question and wonder.
The author pulls you in to the tale in an emotional way that grabs you and doesn’t let go. The overwhelming loss experienced by the survivors comes through and I found myself tearing up more than once or twice. It’s a book that really pulls at you as answers are sought; some are found, others only generated more questions. It’s a book I want to read again as I am sure I gain more from experiencing it with full knowledge of the ending. I have found that sometimes that makes for a fuller read.