I learned of this book from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s recent post Where I Get My Best Book Recs + 8 Recent Reads I Loved.
When I started this blog, I intended to focus more on my own hope-to-be-books which are, at present, still manuscripts. My focus is old man–younger woman romantic stories. Not formula “romance,” just romantic. No trophy wives. No creepers. Just honest, decent older man–younger woman love stories. I’ve posted several reviews over the years of this blog of what I term “Cross-Generational Romance” both in fiction/film or in real life. You can use the Word Cloud to find them, or in the search box type Cross-Generational. Last week I posted a Real Life Cross-Generational Romance–the wedding of Lady Kitty Spencer and Michael Lewis. You can read that post here.
Anyway, when I read Anne Bogel’s post linked above, I thought “HOW have a missed this novel??” I went immediately to my library’s website and was thrilled to bits to find an available e-audio copy–exactly what I needed to thoroughly enjoy this book.
“My need of your words: for such closeness there should be a word beyond love.”
Aldred Leith, son of a famous writer, is stationed in occupied Japan with the British Army. The Commander’s terminally ill son and daughter, both late teens, quickly become his dearest friends in Japan. Benedict, suffering from a rare illness, and Helen, his caretaker sister, have led a life largely disconnected from their parents and are now back on the periphery of their parent’s official life. Aldred and Helen find soulmates in each other.
This is a hard book to review. I listened to it, and did not have time while doing so to pull over and write down some of the many quotes I loved which is a shame. Those one at the top of this post I found on Goodreads. The delicacy of the relationship, of Aldred’s ethics, morals, and his awareness of Helen being so young are well-handled. I just plain loved this book. I will probably buy it and even let myself re-read it some day! (I’m 59–I’ve pretty much quit re-reading except for a couple of “old friends”).
I have done this book no justice and I so loved it!
The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard