This book is a Kindle Unlimited selection and caught my attention for the time period–World War I, and the storyline involving an upper-class British officer.
“I entered the war with the rank of lieutenant because of my class and the privilege of officer’s training, which did not feel like privilege most times.”
(p. 315, Kindle edition)
“There was never any doubt about me signing up for the war. Duty above self had been ingrained in me by Mother, church, and schoolmasters throughout my childhood.”
(p. 315, Kindle edition)
“Mother’s letters would smell of roses as an accompaniment to the words, to supposedly keep me chipper. Her letters were also a little shallow and cold, though I knew that she loved me in her own way.”
(p. 316, Kindle edition)
Edgar, the son and heir of a minor gentry family heads off to France as a newly minted lieutenant. Along the way, he meets a lovely French girl and apparently marries her and fathers a son. Fast-forward a few years and the “wife” shows up with the “son” but no husband at the family manor house. Is she who she claims to be? How does the secretly rejoicing second son deal with the loss of his promotion to first son and heir? And, what about the sweet little brother–how does he see this mystery woman? And, dear Mother? Does she clutch her wedding pearls and call for brandy or does she really put duty first?
“I learned my place from the moment I joined my father’s dinner table. Edgar was the one who answered the questions, to whom, when speaking, everyone listened. Oh certainly, they would humor me, even enjoy the vitality and rhetoric I brought to the table, especially Mother, but they would hear Edgar. His voice was the clearest to all and the only one that mattered.”
(p.334, Kindle edition)
Overall I thought the story was very compelling and well-told. I loved Rudy, the youngest brother. Sadly, the second brother, Laurence, reminded me of odious Larry Gray on Downton Abbey! (Who also had the good luck of a big brother taken by the war). His quote above is the whine of every second son (Prince Harry included!). No spoilers, but his story was a bit eye-rolling.
The Canadian portion of the book was a stretch, but necessary to the story. I also found myself saying “would X say that in 1922?” such as when speaking of “triggers” and mental illness as “disease” and other topics. Some modern political correctness found its way into their thinking too–but not in too ridiculous a quantity.
Those are picky things. The story kept me reading–I actually finished the book in about the time Kindle said I would! I will look out for other books by this Australian author.
In a Field of Blue: A Novel by Gemma Liviero is currently $1.99 for Kindle.
2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
This book is part of my reading for the 2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Passages to the Past. I forgot to add my links during March and April, so they are all below.
They Called it Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton
Old Lovegood Girls by Gail Godwin
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (I also used this book for Reading Ireland Month)
Derby Day by D.J. Taylor
Milkman by Anna Burns (I also used this book for Reading Ireland Month)