Sunday, 8 March 2015

Review: The Heroes' Welcome by Louisa Young

The Heroes’ Welcome is the incandescent sequel to the bestselling R&J pick My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You. Its evocation of a time deeply wounded by the pain of WW1 will capture and beguile readers fresh to Louisa Young’s wonderful writing, and those previously enthralled by the stories of Nadine and Riley, Rose, Peter and Julia.


In a flurry of spring blossom, childhood sweethearts Nadine Waverney and Rilery Purefoy are married. Thos who have survived the war are, in a way, home. But Riley is wounded and disfigured; normality seems incomprehensible, and love unfathomable. Honeymooning in a battered, liberated Europe, they long for a marriage made of love and passion rather than dependence and pity.

At Locke Hill in Kent, Riley’s former CO Major Peter Locke is obsessed by Homer. His hysterical wife, Julia, and the young son they barely know attempt to navigate family life, but are confounded by the ghosts and memories of Peter’s war. Despite all this, there is the glimmer of a real future in the distance: Rose Locke, Peter’s cousin and Riley’s former nurse, finds that independence might be hers for the taking, after all.

For those who fought, those who healed and those who stayed behind, 1919 is a year of accepting realities, holding to hope and reaching after new beginnings.

The Heroes’ Welcome is a brave and brilliant evocation of a time deeply wounded by the pain of war. It is as devastating as it is inspiring.

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Publication Date: March 10, 2015 by Harper Perennial
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book is the sequel to My Dear I Wanted to Tell You which I did not realise when I requested the book. I was able to follow along but I think that readers would benefit greatly from reading them in the proper order in order to be more familiar with the characters. Also, I found myself really interested in what happened before this book started and thinking that it sounded like a really great read. I will be going back and reading the first book.

This book is basically about the effects of war after the fact for a group of different people. It shows the impact of war on not just the soldiers that fought but also the people close to them. It very beautifully shows how war rages on in different ways, faces and situations and how each person copes. The story is not a fast moving one, in fact it moves quite slowly.Although slow in pace I would not say it is boring but instead somewhat depressing. Of course, with the subject matter, you really can't expect anything else. This book paints a very realistic picture of a group of people who have all been damaged in one way or another by war and their struggle to move on.

I feel that the story would have been more powerful if I had read the first book before reading this one. Knowing each characters full story would have given me a greater feeling for each character. Most of the characters I felt like I had a good understanding of but I think I needed more of the back story on Peter to empathise fully with him. This book is not for everyone. It is not filled with action and adventure but more emotion and inner turmoil.

About the Author

Louisa Young grew up in London, in the house in which Peter Pan was written. She studied modern history at Cambridge. She was for many years a freelance journalist, working mostly for the motorcycle press, for Marie Claire, and for the Guardian. She lives in London and Italy. The Heroes' Welcome is the second novel in a projected trilogy that began with My Dear I Wanted to Tell You.

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