I missed the Publication Day Push (12th October 2018) for The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr, so I am just going to sneak myself onto the end of the BlogTour instead.
About the Author
Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather’s time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.
She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, Novelicious.com for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a ‘special commendation’ in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.
About the book
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.
Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.
This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.
This is a story about a woman finding herself via the medium of a voice from the past. A stranger’s love story helps Gemma to acknowledge that she needs to take what she wants with both hands and to live life with no regrets.
Gemma finds a metal box full of letters from Alice, a VAD during WW1, written to her paramour. My great-grandmother was a VAD in France in the Great War, and now and again she would speak of a Canadian love she met and lost there, so the read had sentimental value for me. The love letters become a path of discovery and make Gemma more aware of her own needs and desires.
The connection to the farmhouse, the area, and a very handsome contractor, make Gemma feel even more as if she has found a place to call home. Instead of seeing the content of the letters as Gemma reads them the reader is taken into the past to WW1 and the life of Alice Le Breton. There are parallels between the lives of the two women, which is what fascinates Gemma, despite the many years that separates them.
I have to give Carr her dues for combining fact with fiction, especially when it comes to the more harsh realities of WW1. Facts such as; the short life expectancy of a pilot, the flimsy material the planes were made out of and the fact the pilots couldn’t see where they were going or flying, and the vicious use of gas as a weapon. How frightened the soldiers were by the noise, the brutality and hopelessness of the situation, and how limited the medical professionals were when it came to saving lives.
Carr reminds us how brave both the volunteers and the enlisted were, and how many lives both in the UK and abroad were devastated by the Great War.
It’s an emotional combination of historical fact and fiction with romance and love at the very core of both tales.
Publisher: HarperImpulse Pub. date 12 Oct. 2018