Set in the idyllic beauty of a late Edwardian summer in the country, where the passionate pursuit of unexpected love and the village outrage over the arrival of a female Latin teacher will all be swept away by the onset of a war no one could imagine.
East Sussex, 1914. It’s the end of an idyllic summer and Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha in the pretty coastal town of Rye. Casting aside the recent sabre rattling over the Balkans, Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.
When Beatrice Nash arrives, it is clear she is significantly more free thinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.
But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape, and the colourful characters that populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon, everything will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.
‘Helen Simonson’s characters enchant us, her English countryside beguiles us, and her historical intelligence keeps us at the edge of our seats.’ – Annie Barrows, co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
ISBN: 9781743311288 Publisher: Allen & Unwin Publication date: March 1st 2016 Pages: 592
The story centres around life pre first world war, during the first world war, and afterwards. We meet a group of women from different social backgrounds who are tough and resilient especially during the war time. It showed that regardless of social standing war is a great leveller and doesn’t discriminate between classes. This story shows the initial excitement that gripped the men of the time to cause them to enlist only to discover that the reality is nothing like they were lead to believe it would be. The women had to step up and dig really deep within themselves to find the strength to continue without their men folk. It’s also a book about pushing boundaries set for the women of the day. Many of the women in this book were endearing. I particularly enjoyed the personality of Agatha. She was a lot of fun and nothing seemed to upset her, that is until tragedy hit her family. It’s also a romance story but that wasn’t its sole focus.
Helen’s storytelling and writing style are both well executed and easy to understand. I found that I looked forward to picking up her book. I enjoyed the experience of reading this book considering that it’s about the war (not a favourite genre of mine). I would recommend her to others.
Recommend for: Adults Rating: 4 stars