Plenty of books published this year about the Great War, both fiction and non-fiction and I have been sent my share to review. There have been so many of them I have not read them all but here are two that have kept me busy over the last ten days.
The Storms of War - Kate Williams. This is the first in the de Witt chronicles I understand and I should tell you now that if this is only volume one you are in for a long read as this book has over 500 pages and took some reading. Very Downton Abbyish, it starts in the summer of 1914, that long hot idyllic time before war was declared and which is now looked back on as a halycon period before the horrors changed that time and world for ever. The elder daughter is engaged to be married and her wedding is being planned, one brother is studying in Paris and the other at Cambridge. Celia is the youngest child not quite grown up, but not quite a child and we see a lot of the story and events through her sharp eyes.
Of course the war changes everything and the story, or chronicles, tells the reader of the joys and sorrows they undergo throughout the start of the War.
An absorbing read.
The second was Goodbye Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. This is the first in a new series by this author, The War at Home. Those of us who have read the Morland Saga and who love and appreciate this writer will be delighted to see this book and I have spent most of today totally engrossed. Again, we meet a family living in the country with the eldest daughter, Diana, beautiful and eager to be married; David is the eldest son eager to fight and do something worthwhile with his life (this son is at Oxford not Cambridge!) and Sally the younger daughter who loves horses and shuns the fashionable life.
The writing is, naturally, excellent and the characters drawn with the usual warmth and skill that we have come to expect from CHE. It is a shame that for the time being there are to be no more Morland stories, but when I contacted CHE about this, she said that she had been commissioned to write this series and if it did well, then she might be able to get back to the Morlands.
As this is a terrific book with the usual impeccably researched background, then you know what to do.
Get ye hence and BUY....