In the wake of World War I, 3 women are still trying to come to terms with what has happened and how their lives and the world have changed because of the war. As Armistice Day and the burying of the unknown soldier 2 years after the end of the war approach, Hettie, Ava, and Evelyn have to face realities about themselves and the people they love.
This book was just what I was looking for. I love WWI literature, but I feel like it doesn’t get as many books. There are countless books that take place during or right after WWII, but I feel like it’s kind of hard to find books about WWI. I’m very happy that I found this one.
I will admit, there were times when I was on the verge of tears while reading this. The characters in this book have all had to deal with losing someone they love, and they aren’t at peace with that yet, especially in some circumstances where they don’t even know what’s happened to their loved one.
The draft was terrifying and sad to read about. I know it’s a reality of war, but I’d never thought of it in a personal way. Ava at one point is reflecting on when her son first registered for the draft, and how it was painful and terrifying to be so helpless as you waited for his number to be called up. You think, if that was my boyfriend or my son, I’d hide him, I’d do something. But really, is there anything you can do?? Knowing that you’re helpless and have to watch someone you love go off to war has to be a terrifying thing, whether or not they’re going because of the draft.
I absolutely loved this book, and I loved the format as well. Instead of being organized in chapters, it’s organized by days leading up to the burying of the unknown soldier. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good book about the effects of war not only on the soldiers but of the people left at home as well.
Some favorite quotes (from my Netgalley version):
From Day 2:
“It’s hard work, and as she turns the handle, another sudden memory assails her: her son, as a small boy, standing beside her, helping her, holding the sheets as straight as he can, while she turns the roller, feeding the sodden cotton through.
It winds her, this memory.
After a moment, forcing herself to breathe again, she pushes it away.”
Also from Day 2:
“Two weeks. Two weeks in which she had believed the world still held him in it, in which she had been sending off letters, sitting in the stuffy old office with the women from Horsham, with the thought of him keeping her steady somehow as she moved about her life.
How was that possible? Why had some instinct not stopped her in her tracks?
So this is how it feels.
From Day 5:
“I will remember you when I pack my pipe. I will remember you when I lift my pint. I will remember you on fine days and on black ones. In the summer light I will remember you.”
Author: Anna Hope
Date of Publication: February 11th, 2014
Number of Pages: 304