Review of 'We'll Meet Again' a novel by Philippa Carr.
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel. Publisher Harper Collins, 302 pages, ISBN 9780007841455, cover price £6.99, genre:- Fiction.
Set in England during the Second World War, the story follows the fortunes of sisters Violetta Denver and Dorabella Tregarland. They live in Cornwall where Violetta's fiancé Jowan Jermyn is the heir to the Jermyn Priory estate. Jermyn has joined the Army and is serving abroad.
Dorabella is a widow, she has a chequered past, having left her husband and baby son to run away to France with Jacques, an artist. Dorabella had faked her own death by drowning in order to be with Jacques, but when the relationship floundered, she returned to England and threw herself on her sister's mercy. The sisters concocted a story of Dorabella suffering a memory loss to cover her disappearance. In Dorabella's absence her husband had met with a riding accident and died, so she returned a grieving widow.
The war has changed much in the sisters' lives. They live in Tregarland Manor with Dorabella's son, Tristan and Nanny Crabtree, the little boy's nanny. The sisters have an adopted brother Edward, and as the war progresses, Edward's German wife Gretchen and her daughter Hildegarde move in too. They have plenty of room in Dorabella's home and when the authorities inform them that they are required to take in evacuees, they offer a home to Cockney brothers, Charley and Bert. Most of the work in looking after the children falls to Nanny Crabtree.
Violetta is waiting for news of Jermyn, he has been missing for months and as time goes by, she and Jermyn's grandmother never give up hope of his safe return. Dorabella is missing masculine company and when a mysterious army officer, Captain Blake arrives in the district, Dorabella quickly forms a friendship with him. However, all is not what it seems with Captain Blake, and this is compounded when Jacques also returns to Cornwall accompanied by a sister, Nicole, whom Dorabella did not even know existed.
A series of dramatic events throw the sisters ordered lives into further turmoil and the horrors of war become a reality to them.
Does Violetta's fiancé survive the war? What is Captain Blake's secret?
For the answers, you'll have to read the novel, no spoilers from me!
~~About The Author~~
Philippa Carr is possibly better known as Victoria Holt and Jean Plaidy.
As Jean Plaidy she wrote authentic history in the form of a novel. As Victoria Holt she wrote mystery and suspense with a strong dash of romance and as Philippa Carr, her novels have a historical background, but the history does not get in the way of the plot.
Philippa Carr's novels are written with an eye to the characters and their personalities, whilst exploring the historical events that effect their lives.
Phillipa Carr died in 1993.
~~My Thoughts and Conclusion~~
'We'll Meet Again' is an enjoyable read, it is what I term pick up and put down reading material. The plot is a tried and tested one, women folk waiting, coping and keeping the home fires burning.
I felt it was a little predictable and the characters of the two sisters were pretty much stereotypical of British middle classes during the war years. I have read many novels of this type, and whilst I do enjoy the genre, I felt this particular novel was not representative of the best.
The characters of the sisters were very irritating to me, I felt I wanted to slap the spoiled Dorabella soundly!
The plot was actually rather weak in my opinion, there were several holes in the plot that I found unacceptable. Without giving away too much, when the sisters decided to pack up and return to their parents home in Surrey, they simply went, taking Tristan and his Nanny. No mention was made of the evacuees, who had played a major part in the plot and had suffered the sadness of losing their parents in an air-raid. I was left wondering whether these two selfish woman had abandoned two under 10 year old boys in Cornwall to look after themselves!
The dialogue is a little tedious at times but the novel is on the whole enjoyable. It is a light hearted read with a little historical realism. It is pure escapism in my opinion, not a book to be taken too seriously.
I doubt whether I would bother to read it again, but as a book to while away a dull afternoon, it is fine!
I am awarding 'We'll Meet Again' a 3* rating.
Thank you for reading
© brittle1906 November 2011
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.