Thursday, 23 January 2014

Kristine's review: Wake by Anna Hope

A brilliant debut for readers of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, in which three women must deal with the aftershocks of WWI and its impact on the men in their lives-a son, a brother and a lover. Their tragic connection is slowly revealed as the book unfolds.

Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep 2) Ritual for the dead 3) Consequence or aftermath.

Hettie, a dance instructress at the Palais, lives at home with her mother and her brother, mute and lost after his return from the war. One night, at work, she meets a wealthy, educated man and has reason to think he is as smitten with her as she is with him. Still there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach...Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, more and more estranged from her posh parents, she looks for solace in her adored brother who has not been the same since he returned from the front...Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband of 25 years has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out of work veterans. But when he shows signs of being seriously disturbed-she recognizes the symptoms of "shell shock"-and utters the name of her son she is jolted to the core...

The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 11th 2014 by Random House 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received an advanced readers copy from Random House Publishing via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.*

When I finished this book I had to walk away and think before attempting to write a review because I wasn't sure if I could write anything that would do the book justice. I'm still not sure if I can. All I can really say is that it is going to stay with me for a very long time.

This book tells the story of three women, Hettie, Evelyn, and Ada in the years after WW1. They have all been affected by the war as well as the people closest to them. Throughout the book you learn about their struggles and the struggles of the men they love. It is dark, sad, haunting and at times very moving. It goes to show that war does not end after the last bullet is shot. The battle continues to wreak havoc long after the soldiers come home.

The story goes back and forth between the three women which some people can find confusing but I happen to really enjoy that style. You get a real understanding of the emotions and heartache that they are enduring. I could feel their pain as I turned each page. You also learn that although these three women do not know each other they are all connected to each other through one thread of the war.

Throughout the book you read about the Unknown Soldier or Warrior as he is called in the book and his passage to his final resting place. I thought that Hope did a beautiful job with this portion of the book. As he is being prepared and during each part of his journey you read a blurb about a person that is there and a little story about how the war affected them. I thought that the Unknown Warrior story was brilliant from beginning to end.

I won't go into any more detail because I don't like to give the story away but I highly recommend Wake for any fans of historical fiction and stories about WW1. I absolutely loved the book in a haunted, tragic kind of way. 

I know that Terri received a copy of this book from the publisher as well that she is posting next week and I can't wait to read what she has to say and see if she loved is as much as I did.


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