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4.4 out of 5 stars
In Falling Snow
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2013
This story is beautifully told. I had to make myself measure out how much time I spent absorbed in it otherwise I wouldn't have done anything else but read! It is about a young Australian woman's experience in France during 1914-1918 and her grand-daughter's life, each telling how certain times in their lives unfold, the links and the consequences. The background is based on facts about hospitals run by Scottish female doctors in the Great War and about young 'men' (boys really, aged under 16) who enlisted. There are loves and losses but I won't spoil the story by giving any more details; only to say that although there were clues as to what the ending would be, it took me by surprise and brought tears to my eyes.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2014
Absolutely loved this book,couldn't wait to get home from work to continue reading it.l think the way she mixed the past and present was fantastic ,l cried my eyes out at times and the way the book ended was not the way I expected which made it an even better read!Can't wait to read more of her books .
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2013
I did not purchase this from Amazon but from a book rummage sale. It is a wonderful book; I thoroughly enjoyed it. It goes back and forth between the life of a WWI volunteer nurse and a generation later. Very well written and an easy and absorbing read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2014
I was fascinated and moved by this beautifully-written novel. I had never heard of the hospital at Royaumont, and didn't realise until the author's note at the end that it was a real place. It is a compelling story; a glimpse of hardship and terrible suffering at a traumatic time of history, an intriguing family mystery, and also a hymn to the huge private war fought by women of my grandmother's generation to prove they were capable of living lives other than those that society and the majority of men deemed suitable for them. There's an exchange between Iris and Violet which encapsulates this struggle:- Violet says she has the feeling that men are always watching, "waiting for us to do the wrong thing so they can blame us". Iris knows what she means, and rejoices in the fact that there are no men at Royaumont:-"At Royaumont, where we didn't have a man in charge... it was different, as if we'd all breathed out a sigh and could relax". Any woman, no matter what her age, who has ever had a man stand over her while she fits a plug, or express surprise and grudging admiration because she can change a wheel, will understand.

There is also a love story in the book; several love stories, in fact. But the focus is on motherhood; the mother figure, whether she is truly the blood mother or whether she takes on that role because it is the right thing to do, and whether there's any difference. It's a book that makes you think, and that has to be good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2014
This is a very cleverly written book that will warm your heart telling a story of the first world war based in and around an actual Cistercian Abbey
Whilst the story is mainly fictitious, some of the characters are based on the women who helped to build and run a field hospital.
I would definitely like to read some more of M MacColl
RC
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2014
I loved this story. A very sensitive story covering three generations and as many countries. It showed how events and mistakes and lies of the past can rear ugly heads and affect the lives of the innocent in our modern generation. Anyone loving a good story will enjoy reading this..
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2014
A well told story spanning one woman's life during World War 1 and after.
It captures the mood of war, its horror and the men and women who lived and
suffered through it. Two connected lives are the main thrust of the story and the
author moves between the two seamlessly with the war story particularly well
imagined. I recommend it
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2013
This beautifully crafted novel takes us beyond the front line of war, to a place of suffering, compassion and finally to some degree of comfort and acceptance. Dreadful injury and moral consequence are threads which run through a cleverly controlled dual narrative.
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Iris, in old age, receives an invitation that brings back many memories from her time in France in WW1. Sent by her father to bring her brother Tom home to Australia (Tom having lied about his age in order to join the war), Iris became involved in the founding and running of a field hospital, where she found friendship, love, and her lifelong interest in medicine.

In the present, she is concerned about her granddaughter Grace, an obstetrician, and despite her own increasingly frail health, does what she can to support Grace and her young family. But Iris has a secret - one she has never shared, and which has profoundly affected her life and her relationships - and it is not until near the end off the novel that this is revealed.

Iris is a wonderful character; she is strong, loyal and loving, and has made huge sacrifices to ensure the wellbeing of those she loves. Grace too is a great character; committed to her work, but with problems at home and in her workplace. The narrative moves back and forth between the war and the present, and while this can sometimes be a distraction, in this novel it works beautifully, never allowing the pace or the tension to let up.

I absolutely loved this novel, and didn't want it to end. Very highly recommended.
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on 7 July 2014
Beautiful story about a group of women including nurses, doctors, and other medics who volunteer to set up and run a hospital in France during WW1. The hospital is financed by donations from the Scottish Womens Hospital Committee, including the Suffrage Movement, in a old derelict French Abbey. It kept me enthralled.
The story revolved around a young Australian Nurse ,Iris Crane, who has promised her father to find her 15 year old brother who has left Australia to join the Army, and bring him home. She travels from Australia to England, then to France as part of the Nursing volunteer group . On the way she meets one of the doctors , Miss Ivens, who is part of the team involved in setting up the hospital. She persuades her to join them particularly as she is fluent in French.
The book moves between Iris's past and present experiences and her grand-daughter Grace's life. Each telling how certain times in their lives unfold, the links and the consequences. The background is based on facts about hospitals run by Scottish female .doctors in the Great War
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