Monday, 27 January 2014

Terri's Review: Wake by Anna Hope

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 Helpless, her loving husband of 25 years has withdrawn from her.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              

Terri's Thoughts:

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 
The expected publication date is February 11th 2014.

I will be honest and say that this was a very depressing read however a good read.  The reason that
it is depressing is due to it's subject matter.  This story deals with the lives of three women who are
coping with the aftermath of WWI and the grief of losing a loved one even for those who made it home.
It is depressing in the sense that it gave a realistic view on the aftermath of war in England instead of
romanticizing it.  I found this raw and refreshing.

There was a lot of character flaws amongst the characters depicted on the pages of this book however
that lent a believability to the story.  From Hettie who was seeking that "something more", to Evelyn
who was wrapped in her own bitterness and to Ada who couldn't learn to let go of her grief.  This story
depicted a reality that I could not even begin to comprehend.  The story of each woman showed a
journey of hope although not necessarily written on the pages of the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction, wartime stories and anyone
looking for a realistic depiction of life in England after the war.  I wish I had the words to say how I
was moved by this story however they are failing me at this time.  Sometimes the mark of a good book
is when it leaves you with only your thoughts and you are unable to express them even if you try.  This
story did that for me.

About the Author

ANNA HOPE studied English at Oxford, went to The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and then did the MA in creative writing at Birkbeck. She lives in London.

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