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==Synopsis of the book:==
During the Great Depression of the 1930's Emma and Sam Pearson offered two orphaned boys a two week holiday in the peaceful village of North Waltham in Hampshire. The boys from London, John and Tom had little more than the rags they where wearing and no possessions. After the holiday was over the Pearson's tried to adopt the boys and then Foster them but this was without success. But then the boys disappeared and after six months they turned up on their doorstep and lived with them until they where adults.
Time has moved on and the family are dealing with the horrors of the Second World War and while the bombing hasn't affected them like it has London they still have to come to terms with John's death at Dunkirk. Meanwhile the Pearson's two daughters Emily and Bella are also involved in the war effort as a Chauffeur in the ATS and as a Land girl. Can the young ladies discover love in such a climate of sadness and depression and what of Tom practically one of their family how will his fortunes fair?
==My thoughts on this book:==
I have to be honest and say this is one of the poorest pieces of romantic fiction I have ever read. I know this in part is my fault because I picked this up at jumble sale and didn't really study the summary so I didn't know what I was letting myself in for. All I noticed was it to to do with the war and people returning from it after persuadable some exciting and maybe dangerous times and sadly this never for-filled my expectations.
When I purchased this book I knew nothing about the author Elizabeth Waite and I was surprised to read she had written 17 novels. With this being one of her more recent stories written in 2007. Although I was impressed that she worked on the buses during the War, so I hoped this would help her descriptions as I certainly believe no-one can describe a time or scene like someone who has experienced it.
Don't get me wrong I know I quite often come across as a misery, but I have not got a problem with stories about romance and love as long as they are exciting or have real feeling and depth about them. But this book for me at least had none of that, it was very predictable, lacked any really exciting twists or turns and was a kind of feel good story that did not challenge or make me think at all.
It was all too simple and I would have liked to see, firstly a long more in depth story. It was only 201 pages and to start with it seemed to follow various people from the village of North Waltham without emphasising who was important to the story and although you learnt a little about some of these characters you felt they must play an important or key role in the story but they where just dis-guarded.
Secondly, because it was following about six characters and sharing their thoughts and feeling about what was happening to them and around them, I felt the depth was missing. And while I read a lot of mysteries and crime thrillers I would have expected more suspense in this one. I just felt from about half way through the story I could predict what would happen and I expected more problems and spanners in the works to challenge these characters.
What I think kept me reading this book was it was such an easy story to read. I never had to think to hard about what had happened and what I was reading and I found I literally sailed through the book in no time at all. Maybe in hindsight this would be good for a light holiday read. It was a simple enough story and I found I never confused characters because everything was signposted so you knew exactly which character you where reading about and what was happening to them.
I found the pace of the book surprisingly quick. This was helped by short punchy chapters that brought you up to date on the characters latest developments and for me a feeling that something was always about to happen. I'm not obviously saying what happened but it generally disappointed me and I wanted so much more from this story, which I thought initially had some good concepts to begin with.
I think what kept my interest in the story was undoubtedly the characters. While I think the author was wrong to focus on so many she did produce some excellent memorable personalities. I would have liked to see her concentrate on maybe two and then there may have been more depth of thought, feeling and real insight into their character. This for me would have brought me closer to the characters so that I could empathise with them and form a better bond with them.
Although I have to question and wonder about the authors again for me simplistic view on love. It all seemed a little to easy, simple and straight forward. For me the best stories are the ones when love needs to be won, fought for almost earnt, where there is a real battle and the ultimate prize is the man or women of your dreams. I guess you could call it the battle against adversity but in this story I felt there was nothing of this nature.
I can honestly say having read this book I am sure I will not try another from this author. The story was too weak and despite the back drop of the War she failed to use any of the many possibilities this could have thrown up. Which could have added spice and gave you more of a feeling off what hard and desperate times these where. For me it was an opportunity missed to show how romance could blossom in this cold and uncertain climate.
I would not recommend this to fans of romantic fiction. As it's storyline was weak and far to obvious. Yes it was easy to read with some great personalities but the author by following too many characters failed to take as good advantage of this as she could. The result being I still didn't feel I understand or knew them as well as I should.
Thanks for reading!!
This review is posted on both Dooyoo and Ciao under my user name.
© CPTDANIELS January 2012.