WW1; 1914 – 1918

#Review | The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode by Michael Goode #TheLengtheningWar #GreatWarDiary #MabelGoode @penswordbooks

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Hello, thank you for stopping by! Today, I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of this gorgeous and insightful book; The Lengthening War; The Great war Diary of Mabel Goode by Michael Goode.

Edited by Michael Goode
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 196
ISBN: 9781473851511

This is a strong narrative of the war, easy to read, mixing news with personal feelings and events (often revealing gap between official news and reality). The diary captures the authors’ growing disillusionment with the war, as it gradually encroaches on her life. The diary starts with great excitement, realizing its importance but expecting a short struggle, blaming treachery and incompetence initially but gets increasingly disheartened and eventually stops in 1916. Entries show growth of total war (seeing ominous Zeppelin’s directly overhead, shelling etc.), experiences of her two brothers in service (their privations and her ‘white-feather’ feelings), personal sacrifice and patriotism, reactions to casualty lists, women entering work (she does various war work), steady collapse of domestic service (Downton angle), reflections on recognizable events such as Lusitania and on the competence of the government.

Also included several poems written by Mabel and a love story in the appendix, giving a complete insight into the diarists life. NB. Mabel and her brothers lived in Germany for some time, meaning they could all speak German and knew ‘the enemy nation’ as many Britons did not.

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it, it shouted out to me to be read and I am so pleased that I did. I am a bit obsessed with this era, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this book, it is not only absolutely gorgeous to look at – it looks so pretty on my bookshelf, not that is not the only reason I chose to review this book, even though that is a bonus.

This is the private diary of a young woman; Mabel Goode, who thought to write down all her thoughts and feelings during the first few years of the great war. With a mixture of Mabel’s own personal views on key events, she gives the reader a vivid and passionate account of what she was experiencing during those harrowing years. The diary starts full of excitement and optimism In 1914, from this part you get a genuine and honest insight into the minds of the ordinary people, what they thought of what was going on, at first it is full of so much optimism that the war would be over by Christmas 1914, a view that was shared by many around the country. She tells of what she is hearing and what is going on at the front, her entry about the soldiers being gassed is harrowing.

For whatever reason her diary stops in 1916, whether this is because she is finding the whole war a strain or whether it was do to with something more personal, we may never know. But what we can take from this is a real sense of the time, for a brief moment we are transported into Mabel’s world of uncertainty, of growing frustration, of her family and of love.

This gives a real insight into her life, of the struggles and chaos which was going on around her, to the simple hope of love. I was completely lost in her words, she was a passionate diarist, there is a lot of emotion on the pages and the reader picks up on those feeling too as you read; from love, confusion, anger, sadness, she lays herself bare and for that we should be eternally thankful as without the likes of Mabel who felt compelled to write about what was going on, we wouldn’t see just how the war effected the ordinary folk.

This book is definitely one that everyone who has any kind of interest in WW1 should read it, it is emotional and real, there is a clarity and vividness that you don’t get from other works. I love how this is laid out too, it’s start with the fact of what Mabel mentioned, followed by her diary. The entire book is thoroughly engrossing, it is an easy book to read, it’s not taxing or overly complicated there is a very warm and loving feeling to it, while reading the diary part of the book it is so clear it is like Mabel is actually standing here telling you her story.

A fabulous addition to the bookshelf and one that I will be pulling off again to read.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Rosie. X

The Lengthening War can be purchased from Amazon and Pen and Sword.

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#Review : When I Was Yours by Lizzie Page @LizziePagewrites #WhenIWasYours @bookouture

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Hello everyone! Today I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of When I Was Yours by the very talented Lizzie Page. So Grab a cuppa and settle down, as you don’t want to miss out on this great book.

We stand at the back of the hall as the children troop in. Big ones, little ones. Straggly hair, cropped hair, curls…the adults surge forward to choose and soon there is just one child left, a little girl sitting on the floor. She is thin as a string bean and her sleeve is ragged and damp – like she’s been chewing it.

1939. War has broken out – hundreds of children are evacuated to the countryside to keep them safe from the bombs raining down on the cities. Wrenched from her family in the East End and sent more than a hundred miles away, seven-year-old Pearl Posner must adapt to a new life away from everything familiar.

Vivienne didn’t ask for an evacuee child. In fact, she’s not sure her heart can take it. So many years, so many disappointments… Vivi’s ability to feel love left her the day she learned the truth about her husband Edmund, and when she made the worst decision of her life and left her cherished sister to her fate. But like it or not, Pearl is here to stay, and what with the rumours about what’s happening to children in mainland Europe, it might be the last safe place for her.

As Pearl and Vivi learn how to live together, they discover that they have a connection that runs more deeply than they could ever have guessed – from before Pearl was born, and deep into Vivienne’s past. And will it be Pearl – the little girl who says so little and sees so much – who forces Vivi to finally confront what happened in her marriage… and to the long-lost sister she loved so dearly and let fall so far, just when she needed Vivi most?

Lizzie Page has gone and done it again with this beautiful, poignant and immensely emotional story that spans across two world wars. I have been a fan Of Ms Pages work for a while now, her grasp of this particular era is amazing, she really draws you into the past with her eloquent and sensitive writing. She is by far one of my favourite authors, and this is a brilliant addition to her rapidly growing CV.

What I particularly loved about this is the cleverly written duel time line, set in both wars. We see the lead character Vivienne make her way through WW1 as a young woman and then into WW2. I love each part of the Vivi’s story but I was particular taken with her years in WW1 – but that’s not because those parts of the story written any differently, every part of the book is just as great as the next, It’s just I have a soft spot for that era and I’m fascinated with the roles women took at the time.

In 1914 and very young Vivienne and her sister Olive want to do something for the war effort, so they start working as ambulance drivers – it is this aspect of the story which really caught my attention, it is both historically detailed so much so that you can see every scene with absolute clarity, and it is also hugely emotional to read. Vivi has fallen in love with her cousin’s best friend; Edmund, and becomes engaged to him. Then she suddenly she meets charismatic pilot Sam, that does capture Vivi’s attention but she is a good, loyal women she has made a promise to him and she won’t go back on it no matter what she feels for Sam.

In 1939, Vivi and Edmund are not quite so happily married, they are living separate lives, there are various factors into why they aren’t living in happily married bliss which I really won’t go into – no spoilers here – and on top of that they never did have children of their own, which you can really sense that is a tough subject for Vivi, but her unhappiness comes from more than that. Personally speaking, I think that Vivi marrying Edmund was the worse decision of her live and that has really ingrained itself on her.

Anyway they have been informed that she will be having an evacuee staying with them. Edmund doesn’t want a child in the house, especially someone else’s and like so many others he believes that this won’t come to anything that there will be no war. Vivi is both fearful and nervous about the prospect of having a child in the house, she doesn’t even know how to look after one. But she must soon learn, and once she meets her evacuee; a little girl named Pearl, she learns far more than to look after children she learns to love again and to open her heart which has been closed off for so long.

The relationship that blossoms between Vivi and Pearl is really something, looking after this sweet, quiet little girl gives Vivi something that has never thought to have; hope, a sense of being wanted and needed, a purpose, friendship and love, all things that she thought was lost to her so long ago and when she realises that there is more to this little girl, that there is a link between them really touches the reader and Vivi.

I absolutely love how this is written, Lizzie you have blown me away with your beautiful words, wonderful imagination and emotional story. I love how it tells us what happened to Vivi and her sister Olive during WW1 and then we move forward to see how Vivi is faring in 1939, the leaps from one era to the other is perfectly written, I found that there was no confusion of where you are in the story and each era seamlessly flows into one.

It is a lovingly written story that has real heart, and one that I cannot recommend enough. The story flows with so much ease, but it is the character’s especially Vivi which really steals the reader’s attention, she is a marvelous woman, her journey through live is one that many can relate to.

This was an Arc copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I was Yours is available now and can be found at Amazon.

#BlogTour : In The Shadow Of War; Spies, Love & The Lusitania by Colleen Adair Fliedner @ColleenFliedner #Review #InTheShadowOfWar #Histfic via @HFVBT #HFVTBBlogtours

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Hello my lovelies, I have the very great pleasure to be todays stop on the In The Shadow Of War; Spies, Love & The Lusitania by Colleen Adair Fliedner blog tour. So grab yourself a cuppa and maybe a biscuit and let me tell you a bit about this book.

In 1915 while the First World War raged on in Europe, Americans, and especially New Yorkers, faced their own “silent war” at home. Disgruntled with America’s so-called promise of “neutrality” and overt trade deals with England and France, the German government set up a spy ring headquartered in Manhattan. Their espionage and terrorist networks had tentacles reaching all the way to the German Ambassador in Washington D.C. German operatives planted explosives on American and British cargo ships en route from New York to England, France, and Russia. They plotted to blow up trains, bridges, factories, and even the U.S. Capitol Building

Josette Rogers is the daughter of a rich businessman who must move his family to London when he inherits his uncle’s import/export business. Curtis Carlson is a rising star at the House of Morgan on Wal Street. They each have very different opinions about whether or not America should enter the war.

Josette Rogers is the daughter of a rich businessman who must move his family to London when he inherits his uncle’s import/export business. Curtis Carlson is a rising star at the House of Morgan on Wall Street. They each have very different opinions about whether or not America should enter the war.

Curtis and Mr. Van Camp, a senior partner at Morgan’s Manhattan offices, are sent to England to have $500 million loan documents signed that will help finance the nearly bankrupt British and French governments. Josette and Curtis are both traveling to England on the RMS Lusitania when Josette suspects there is a spy ring on board. Were they sent to divulge the location of the Lusitania?

This is the first I have read by Ms Fliedner, but I was so fascinated by the look and sound of this book, those who know me and who read my reviews will know I have a real passion for this era, and I knew that I just had to read it and I am so pleased that I did because In The Shadow Of War is a wonderfully powerful book that really sends tingles down the readers back. We all know the history of the Lusitania and yet there appears to be so few books out there that feature it’s tragic history, which is definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book.

It’s 1915 and war is raging across Europe, a war that America as yet are in two frames of mind about entering the war, but they are fighting their own ‘silent’ war on their very streets. Which makes the government to set up their own network of spies, New York becomes thick in danger amongst all of this is Josette; an intelligent, opinionated young woman who resolutely does not believe that the US should even enter the war and Curtis a professor come Wall Street banker who thinks that America should help it’s allies; Britain and France. Really these two are so different, they are made from the same cloth, proud, intelligent, passionate but with completely different ideals of what should happen to their country. But, once they both find themselves on the ill fated Lusitania they then must become allies as there is spies and danger everywhere they turn. I can’t really say too much about the plot as there are plot twists and turns at every single corner, there is secrets and lies on every page that to go into to real detail would surely give too many spoilers away and I just can’t do that. But, I will say that the spy plot is amazing and it kept me completely and

This really is an edge of your seat thriller with the hint of romance, there is danger at every turn, spies, and a world that is facing the most brutal and bloodiest of wars where families on all continents are being effected and that human aspect really came across in this. The author does a splendid job at bringing to attention the none battle field struggles and perils that the everyday people from all over the world, from every walk of life had to face day in day out. Not only seeing their husbands, brother’s and son go off to war and worrying whether they will ever be seen again, but there is also the fact that people were starving and desperate. The main plot is brilliant, but is this side story that really captured my attention and I applaud Ms Fliedner for such immersive and powerful writing.

A definite must read for those like myself who love reading about this era, it is an atmospheric, powerful and poignant book that really shouldn’t be missed.

This was a complimentary copy from the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour; Thank you Colleen and Amy.

In The Shadow Of War can be purchased at Amazon.

#Review Daughters of War by Lizzie Page (@LizziePagewrite) #WW1 #DaughtersOfWar #Historical #Romance @bookouture

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An emotional tale of wartime love and sacrifice, inspired by an incredible true story…

As a teenager in Chicago, May always dreamed of travelling the world. So when she meets handsome George Turner, she jumps at the chance to return to London as his wife. Ten years later, May is wondering if she’s made a terrible mistake.

It’s 1914 and war has been declared in Europe. All around, brave young men are being called up to serve. George, banned from conscription himself, has taken to the bottle, and May suspects he’s seeing other women too. She longs for a way to escape.

The chance comes when May meets veteran nurse Elsie, who persuades May to join the war effort. May knows nothing of nursing – it will be difficult, dangerous work, but her heart is telling her it’s the right thing to do.

But then George does the unthinkable and May’s future is put at risk. Will she have to make the impossible choice between duty to her family and her promise to the soldiers on the front line? And can she live with the consequences if her husband goes through with what he’s threatening to do?

My View

This is the second book in the planned trilogy which focus’s on the unbelievably courageous women of the Great War, and I have to say that this is a very worthy follow up to the hugely emotional and incredible The War Nurses and I really cannot wait for the third and final book, which I know will be another emotional ride just as this and the previous book have been.

This is an inspiring, emotional, heartbreaking, mesmerising, charming, haunting book that is inspired by the remarkable life of May Borden who was a nurse, novelist and poet during the Great War. The story opens with May in a bit of a depression, the man she thought she was to lead a whole new life with has is now a drunk and worse than that she knows that her husband is cheating on her. She is tired of her life surrounded by a man who doesn’t love or respect her, she wants to escape. Which is when she meets vivacious Elsie, who talks May into joining the nursing core. May knows nothing about nursing, but she feels that this is the very thing that could turn around her life.

Even though May is a hugely inspiring woman and what she did was amazing, while reading this I was at times in two frames of mind about May. There is no denying what she did was incredible and I am in awe and applaud everyone of those brave women who went to the front, but at times I felt at times she did act like a child herself, she needed stand up for herself more than she did. I felt she was as conflicted as the very war she was working in, I don’t think she was a strong women but she was a real one, she was plunged into a horrific war while her children were still at home. But what really made me soften towards May was her unrelenting compassion, loyalty and her unrelenting need to help those men who were experiencing the very worst that humans can do to on e and other.

I have to say that Lizzie Page is an unbelievably gifted writer, her absolute passion for these incredible women, the history and her thirst to share these wonderful stories with the world is evident in each page she has lovingly written, her love and passion comes through the story.

This is another powerful story that makes you stop and really take in what these women sacrificed for us, as with the war Nurses this isn’t just about bombarding the reading with sights and sounds from the front, this is about women coming together forming unbreakable friendships and doing their best to help. It’s a beautiful book and one that really needs to be read, no matter your views on the war we all need to hear these stories.

Emotional and expertly written!

This was an Arc copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Daughter of War can be purchased from Amazon.

#Review A Daughters Christmas Wish (Cornish Tales #4) by Victoria Cornwall (@VickieCornwall) #WW1Romance #Christmas #ADaughtersChristmasWish #CornishTales @ChocLitUK

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A Cornish Christmas wish sent across the ocean …

Christmas, Cornwall 1919

A promise to a fellow soldier leads Nicholas to Cornwall for Christmas, and to the teashop managed by Rose; the youngest daughter of a family whose festive spirit has been blighted by their wartime experiences. But as Nicholas strives to give Rose the best Christmas she could wish for, he begins to question whether his efforts are to honour his friend, or whether there is another reason…

My View

This is a beautiful book that captures a moment in history, that really emphasises the emotional suffering that gripped the country. Set after the great war , The Daughters Christmas Wish focusses on the aftermath of that horrendous war. The main character’s Rose and Nicholas have both lost and now trying to move on with their lives, which I think Ms Cornwall has portrayed beautifully, not that I’m surprised as she is a wonderfully skilful writer who can enchant and engage the reader from the very first page.

It’s 1919, the great war is finally over and people are attempting to move on and rebuild their lives after years of heartache and suffering. Nicholas is back home, after the war he couldn’t face returning home without his best friend so he re-enlisted for another year but now he is back to fulfil a promise he made to fellow soldier and fallen friend; Sam. That was to go back to home to Cornwall and give Sam’s fiancée; Rose the best Christmas she could ever wish for. I love the way he comes to make her Christmas special and how she wanted it, he took a poem that she wrote to Sam about Christmas and made every line of that poem reality for her. Which really is the most romantic thing that you have ever read and really shows just what an incredibly kind and honourable and gentle man Nicholas is. He too has been affected by his experiences from the war, those experiences have imprinted on him a sense of needing to over come loss.

Rose doesn’t really feel like celebrating Christmas, she is deeply unhappy, her whole life has completely changed, but not for the good. Rose and her family have all been scarred by the war, her brother Arthur and her fiancée Sam have both been killed on the front which has left her in a deeply unhappy state and that of her parent’s too, who have become grief stricken to the point that they are stuck in the darkness and forget about their daughter. My heart broke for Rose, she is clearly in pain, she is struggling and a bit lost, but she has an inner strength that makes her get up and put one foot in front of the other.

I loved this book, it’s a beautiful and poignant love story that is written with absolute care and sensitivity for the era and subject. The character’s are realistic to the time, they have a heart-breaking tender and sweetness about them that will make you fall in love with them. This is an emotional book that will have you reaching for the tissues and fill your heart with love and joy for the festive season.

I am in absolute love with this book, simply stunning!

This was an ARC via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Daughters Christmas Wish is available from Amazon.

#Review – The Poppy Field: A Gripping and Historical Romance by Deborah Carr (@DebsCarr) #WW1 #Historical #Romance #100Years @HarperImpulse

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One to Watch’ Good Housekeeping

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..

My View

I have read many stories set during the WW1 era but I think that this could be one of my favourites, it is simply stunning and one of those rare books that I did genuinely have a weep over. The last couple of pages will break even the most hardened of hearts. This is a powerful, emotional and incredibly poignant and romantic book that will leave the reader with a lump in their throats and feeling completely overawed by the unimaginable heart-break and loss and yet at the same time it is hugely satisfying.

The Poppy Field is split between two era’s and follows two different but incredible woman who are both facing a tough and emotional time. Linked together through nursing, present day Gemma is a NHS trauma nurse, she is feeling the strain and is struggling by what she has experienced in her job. She needs to get away from everything she has seen and try to move on, so she agrees to help er father renovate an old farmhouse in Northern France. She only see’;s this as a break to basically clear her head, she doesn’t intend of staying in France. That is until two thing’s happen.

One, she meets Tom, the supremely handsome contactor who has agreed to her her with the refurbishment; and two she finds an old box in the house that is full of letters from a woman called Alice who was a volunteer nurse during the great war. I think reading about and getting to know Alice through these old letters is so good for Gemma, she isn’t overly confident, she is definitely stuck in her shell and reading about what this amazing woman went through is a soothing balm for her. As Gemma and Tom get on with renovating the house, Tom is very smitten with shy Gemma, he sees something in her that she unfortunately doesn’t see herself; that she is a wonderful woman.

As much as Gemma and Tom’s story is beautifully touching, I was particularly drawn to Alice. It was her story that found impacted on me, Alice left home and her fiancé to volunteer with the nursing corpse which just happened to be next door to the Somme so she saw some real horrors. The letters she had been writing were to two men, Peter and Ed, both we come to learn are such an integral part of her life. Through her own words we get a glimpse of her life, of her experiences and most importantly we get a real sense of the strong, patient, kind and utterly brilliant woman that she was.

This book is incredible, it is a beautifully written, utterly mesmerising and beautiful story that captures the readers attention and takes them on a heart-wrenching journey through both of these amazing women’s lives. This is the first time I have read Deborah Carrs work and I can say for certain it will not be the last, her writing is gift we all need to receive.

A captivating, poignant and beautiful book.

This was a ARC copy via the publisher from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Poppy Field is available now from Amazon and I say that you really must buy this one!

#Review – Heroic Measures by Jo-Ann Powers (@CeriseDeLand) #WW1 #Romance #Historic #HeroicMeasures @WildRosePress

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Honoring those who have served their country in war, most focus on those who have fought on the battlefields. But one group’s heroics under fire have slipped through the pages of history, a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured.

For nurse Gwen Spencer, fighting battles is nothing new. An orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt, Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt’s demands…and into a world of her own making.

Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos, she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with.

But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?

My View

I knew when I came to read this book that it would be an emotional ride as I walked in the footsteps of such heroic and supremely inspiring women, but I was over-awed and whilst reading this book. I felt in so much awe of Gwen and her fellow nurses who did the most incredible job, these women were vital for the war effort. Jo-Ann Power has gone above and beyond with telling these extraordinary women’s stories, the depth of research is incredible at times it was like actually being standing right beside them. It painted an emotionally raw and brutally real picture of what these women went through.

I think what really struck me most when reading this book was just how little I knew about front line nurses from America. I think that being from the UK, we take all our meticulous record keeping via the archives and the War Graves Commission for granted and we tend to be a little ignorant to the fact that the Great War affected not just us on Europe and the common wealth but those from America also feature heavily, we just don’t really know about them. Which is why this book is so damn important, It is exactly what we need in this world and it is one of those rare books that will stand the test of time,

The story really follows one young nurse; Gwen – who is a hugely likeable character, a woman after my own heart she has spirit, determination, she has seen her fair share of troubles before she even goes into nursing, but those issues have made her the strong, reliable and passionate woman I found her to be. We first see her in nursing college where her and her close knit group of friends have fun between studies, once graduated they now face the real world. Unfortunately this world is now at war and Gwen soon finds herself facing all the horrors of the front, as she is sent to battled destroyed France.

This is definitely the most heart breaking part of the book what Gwen and her friends face day in day out is harrowing. The picture of that dark and soul destroying place is vivid and real, Ms Power has done an absolutely incredible job at portraying the scene with the utmost realism and respect and this is where the authors research and brilliant writing comes in to it’s own, she captures your attention through out the book and I can guarantee that there is times you will get a lump in your throat ad tears in your eyes.

Heroic Measures is an emotionally powerful read that will leave the reader in absolute stunned silence, it’s true, poignant and highlights an aspect of women’s history that I think a lot of us may have forgotten.

Very highly recommended one of the best books I have read and one that everyone should read.

This was a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Heroic Measures can be purchased at Amazon.