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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