The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott @CScottBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this wonderful historical fiction book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…
An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost, partially inspired by her family history, is her first novel.

This is such a poignant, sombre, heartbreaking and beautiful story that I cannot do justice to with my review. It is set in 1921 as people are still trying to come to terms with the loss of family during the first world war. Edie is desperate to discover what had happened to Francis her husband, missing presumed dead does not give her any peace of mind. Is he missing, was he killed or was he suffering from amnesia, she wants to know. Harry served in the war along with his brother, Francis. Harry returns to France and photographs places and gravestones for those back home looking for some sort of closure. Harry cannot remember all that happened during the war and suffers from we now know as PTSD.

This was such a haunting read and I do admit it taking me a little while to get into. I did however go back to the synopsis and give it a proper read and it did make things a lot clearer and things started to fall into place easier. Once I got to grips with the style of the story and the characters I discovered such a beautifully written story. It is one that delved into the way people were coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones as well as how those involved in the fighting were dealing with their own trauma.

The author did such a wonderful job with the character of Edie and it really brought home how dealing with the unknown can stop you from living your life. Her personal pilgrimage to various offices, agencies and hospitals to try to find the slightest bit of information about Francis was powerful. A glimmer of hope that flicked and wavered as she went through disappointment of finding nothing.

Harry has his own journey and it is linked to Edies. He had taken his brothers profession and is a photographer. His work means he accepts commissions from those who want to know the final resting place of their loved ones or the last place they were seen. These photographs are the last touch for a family, a chance to say a final goodbye and have something that marks the end of a life.

This is a powerful story, one that deals with the time immediately after the war. People are trying to live and survive with their loss. There is still hope that those who are missing can be found alive. The story does flit between 1921 and as flashbacks to the war so there are two sides to the story and it makes for a very moving and emotional read.

As I said earlier, it did take me a little while to get into, but once in I found it very difficult to put down. If you are looking for a book that deals with WW! and how people are affected than you really should pick this one up, it is definitely worth it and I Definitely Recommend it.

About the Author Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France.


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Until We Meet Again by Rosemary Goodacre @RoseGoodacre @rararesources #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Until We Meet again by Rosemary Goodacre. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful historical fiction book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

The Great War drove them apart – but love kept them together

Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.

The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to be wed, eager to start a new life together – but their happiness is short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.

Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters sent from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all – can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?

A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 – readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love.

Purchase Links – Amazon Apple Kobo

This is the story of Amy and how she met Edmond and it begins just before the start of WWI. They are a couple from different backgrounds, she working class and him from a wealthy background. When war is finally declared Edmond does the honourable thing and signs up and they plan to marry before he goes away. Things however do not quite work out as they should!

This is such a fabulous story that pulls in various things from the time. The Suffragettes and Suffragists, the tensions and fears of the possibility war, people being lost killed or injured in the war and how life must carry on as best it can with a world in turmoil. The author weaves a fabulous story of love and hope in amongst the backdrop of heartbreak and devastation.

I loved the difference of opinion between the two different families. Amy’s’ family are down to earth and humble and they are a contrast to Edmond’s family who hold lavish parties and holiday on the continent. there are some wonderful scenes that are portrayed in the story that highlight these differences, though not so wonderful for Amy.

As Edmond does his duty, Amy feels that she wants to do her part in the war effort and so trains to become a nurse. War affects everyone and so it is for Amy and Edmond when he is wounded. Their spirits are kept strong by letters they write to each other and also from family and friends. This was such an important part of peoples lives as it was the only way of keeping in touch. The real hardships were kept out of these communications and so what people were really going through often went unsaid.

This is a story that is captivating and is a beautiful story of young love that has its challenges against the horror of war. The author captures moments of their story through the letters and also of their brief and infrequent visits.

This is a story that I loved and did shed a tear or two for, it is emotional but also very down to earth in the way it is written, by this I mean it is a story of two people who have met and fallen in love but have a sense of duty to their country.

The author does not over dramatise the wounded and the battlefield situations but does enough to provide a good general picture of life and conditions.

If you like historical fiction and romance then I really do think that you will enjoy this one, I know I certainly did and I Definitely recommend it.

Rosemary Goodacre has previously worked in computing and teaching. She has had short stories published and a novella, A Fortnight is not Enough.

Her father’s family came from continental Europe and she loves travelling.
She enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives with her husband in Kent, England.

Visit Rosemary on – Twitter Facebook

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The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood @Authormary @panmacmillan @EllisKeene #Review #Giveaway

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood. Whether this author writes as Mary Wood or as Maggie Mason I absolutely adore her books. The latest is another book that had me in tears yet again! Mary just manages to create characters that I care about and I cannot help but feel for.

Mary is generously running a Giveaway. To be entered into this just comment below. All comments on my Blog require my approval. Once I have approved your comments Mary will then be able to see them and enter you into her draw.

This Giveaway is run by Mary and she will get in touch with the winner direct. Me And My Books is not responsible for the Giveaway or the dispatch or the prize.

Now then, let’s have a look at The Abandoned Daughter and see what it is all about 🙂 xx

Voluntary nurse Ella is haunted by the soldiers’ cries she hears on the battlefields of Dieppe. But that’s not the only thing that haunts her. When her dear friend Jim breaks her trust, Ella is left bruised and heartbroken. Over the years, her friendships have been pulled apart at the seams by the effects of war. Now, more than ever, she feels so alone.

At a military hospital in France, Ella befriends Connie and Paddy. Slowly she begins to heal, and finds comfort in the arms of a French officer called Paulo – could he be her salvation?

With the end of the war on the horizon, surely things have to get better? Ella grew up not knowing her real family but a clue leads her in their direction. What did happen to Ella’s parents, and why is she so desperate to find out?

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood is the second book in The Girls Who Went To War series.

The Abandoned Daughter is available in ebook and paperback now.

This is the second in the Girls Who Went To War series and while I have not yet read the first book it has no way marred my reading of The Abandoned Daughter. Though I will say I will be buying the first.

The author does put her characters through the proverbial mill and also characters that I care about. Elle is such a lovable and sweet character and my goodness does she have so much thrown at her. Pain and suffering seem to follow her, just I thought she was going to have a happy life something goes wrong. A phrase that I have heard many times and also that the author used in her book was the one about “God only gives you what he knows you can deal with”. This is something that does sum up Elle to a tee. Even so, how a person could deal with losing so much!

The story is not just about Elle, it is about her friends and her time as a nurse. I should explain that the story begins as World War I, Elle is a nurse at the battlefield hospitals. After the war ends and Elle returns home things at first start to go well. There is mention of the struggle that returning troops found and this I found very interesting. Many soldiers finding themselves homeless, ill and well… lost.

The struggles at home take on a different route to what I expected, but thank goodness for Rowena. Everyone should have a Rowena in their lives and I adored her. The author adds so many social and economic problems for the time to her stories. It is such a useful thing as not only does it fit with the setting of the book it also highlights the struggles of others.

Elle is such an amazing character who really is pushed to the limits of endurance. I had my heart in my mouth so many times as I wondered how or if she would cope with everything.

This author is an absolute delight to read. She creates characters that I care about with plot lines that touch the heart. Emotional is something I expect and tears from me seem to be a given whenever I read her books. She creates stories that keep me eagerly turning pages and often until the early hours of the morning.

If you love historical fiction and family sagas you will love Mary Wood and also Maggie Mason.

The Abandoned Daughter is a book I would Highly Recommend.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’. 

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels 

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle. 

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her FacebookWebsiteTwitter

Mary welcomes all contact with her readers and feedback on her work.

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The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson @dotterel @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Glorious Dead by Tim Atkinson as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours and Unbound Publishers. This is a book that is set after the end of WWI.

Synopsis:

What happened when the Great War ended and the guns stopped firing? Who cleared the battlefields and buried the dead? It’s 1918 and the war may be over but Lance-Corporal Jack Patterson ad the men of his platoon are still knee-deep in Flanders mud, searching the battlefields for the remain of comrades killed in action. But duty isn’t all that’s keeping Jack in Flanders. For one there is Katia, the daughter of a local publican, with whom he has struck up a romance. And then there is something else, a secret that lies buried in Jack’s past, one he hopes isn’t about to be dug up.

Purchase link – Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

Well, this is a book that was a real eye-opener that’s for sure. I had never really thought about who took care of the bodies of the fallen during or after WWI or WWII come to that. I was aware of there being Red Cross and Ambulance crews but that was as far as it went. Who was responsible for taking those bodies to their final resting place, in this case, a huge memorial cemetery in Belgium.

The story follows Jack and his group who remain in Belgium after the end of the war. While others have returned home, they remain. Disgruntled is a term that seems appropriate for their mood. It was interesting to read of the conditions the men had to work in not nice at all. The descriptions are of how bodies are found, identified and then managed.

Another thing that I found interesting was how those who died were interred against family wishes. Many wanted their loved ones to be repatriated to their home soil so they could be grieved over, to be visited and remembered. Many families never visited the final resting place of their loved one and knew they knew they would never be able to for various reasons.

The political and personal feelings expressed are woven around Jack, his story and of those he works with gradually emerges. It has a sense of camaraderie and also the wish for most of them to go home. Not all want to return home, stories of returning soldiers with no jobs, no home and living rough are emerging.

A story that took me to a horrific and brutal point in history. As I mentioned at the beginning a real eye-opener. While the story of Jack and his group was good, they actually became secondary for me in this story.

One I think readers of historical fiction would really like and one I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Tim Atkinson is a teacher, author and award-winning blogger. He studied philosophy at the University of Hull and has worked variously as a filing clerk, lay-clerk, chain-man and schoolteacher. He was born in Colchester, brought up in Yorkshire and now lives in Lincolnshire.

Follow Tim on TwitterWebsite

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Promise of Tomorrow by Anne Marie Brear @annemariebrear @rararesources #BookReview

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Today I am delighted t be sharing my review of The Promise Of Tomorrow by Anne Marie Brear as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for the invite and also to Anne Marie for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads. 
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs. 
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists. 
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

 Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

Purchase Links: Amazon UK –  Amazon US

My Thoughts:

Charlotte and her younger sister Hannah have been on the road traveling and working. They stumble into a shop and the owners take them in. Life seems to settle and the girls seem to have found somewhere safe. But it is not long before the past starts to catch up to them in the form of McBride.

This is a fabulous story set before and during the First World War. It has some really good elements in it that kept the story moving along nicely as characters and stories were gradually introduced. I really like the way the author used the contrasts in social class, something that always interests me. It has a mix of stereotypical traits as well as some that go against the grain. As the war begins and men start to do their duty, things for those at home obviously change, people begin to adapt and do what they can. As is the way in all things there are always those who are eager to look for the easy route or the free ride.

The plot of the story weaves through the main characters and those they come into contact with, Charlotte is a strong and selfless character, always the one to do the best for others before herself. She was my favourite character in this story and while I did like quite a few others I will let you make your mind up about them when you read the book.

With the story being set partly during the WWI there are mentions of battles as well as conditions for those engaged in the fighting. The author did well to explain these aspects and also with the emotional aspects. She explored the strains for those back home and also those in the field of battle.

This is a story that is detailed and fast-paced, heartbreaking and hopeful. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and after reading this I look forward to reading more.

This is ideal for readers who like historical fiction and romance with a WW One setting and is also one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are traveling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.

Social Media Links – Website – Blog – Facebook – Twitter

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