The blurb: Five Days in November, 1920:
As the body of the Unknown Soldier makes its way home from the fields of Northern France, three women are dealing with loss in their own way: Hettie, who dances for sixpence a waltz at the Hammersmith Palais; Evelyn, who toils at a job in the pensions office, and Ada, a housewife who is beset by visions of her dead son. One day a young man comes to her door. He carries with him a wartime mystery that will bind these women together and will both mend and tear their hearts.
A portrait of three intertwining lives caught at the faultline between empire and modernity,Wake captures the beginnings of a new era, and the day the mood of the nation changed for ever.
My review: Wake is a lovely and thoughtful take on the everyday person’s relationship with the unknown soldier. Anna Hope has really brought home the personal heartbreak of families being torn asunder and the horror of a fate that you could do nothing to change. The impact of the soldiers claiming their benefits, queuing every day, every man being scarred mentally and physically, every woman seeing the faces of their missing loved ones at the door, the street, the bench in the park is a truly heartbreaking situation to read and must have been unimaginably sad to live through.
Beautifully told, you can’t help but warm to the characters and hope that they will find happiness, that they deserve it after the horrors they have endured. It really puts things into perspective. Hope has a very clever way of entwining her separate character narratives as the War must’ve touched lives from every class and every culture.
Thinking of the World Wars as life-changing events that are based in reality but not witnessed in my lifetime, when described they seem so fantastical, so unbelievable that to read about them is something good for the soul. I think everyone should read this book and remember.
10 out of 10 stars! **********
BUY ME! Wake