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Motherland [Kindle Edition]

William Nicholson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'This is a novel worth reading more than once' Elizabeth Jane Howard.

'A total triumph' Julia Gregson, author of East of the Sun.

'Epic novel of love and loss ... I love William Nicholson's simple, intense style. One to get lost in' Red magazine.

'He brings all the restraint of the this era to this love triangle and a screenwriter's instinct for dialogue' Daily Express.

'A superbly intelligent wartime romance' Daily Mail.

'His particular gift is to take you inside the contemporary mind, tracing out trains of thought with astonishing agility, sensitivity and honesty' Spectator.

'Nicholson tells his ambitious story with a moving eloquence' Sunday Times.

'A profound and moving novel; a tender and compassionate mediation on love and God and duty and how to be good' Guardian.

'[Nicholson's] portrayal of the wartime disaster that was the raid on Dieppe is grippingly rendered' Observer.

Product Description

You come from a long line of mistakes,' Guy Caulder tells his daughter Alice. 'My mother married the wrong man. Her mother did the same.'

At the end of a love affair, Alice journeys to Normandy to meet Guy's mother, the grandmother she has never known. She tells her that there was one true love story in the family.

In the summer of 1942, Kitty is an ATS driver stationed in Sussex. She meets Ed, a Royal Marine commando, and Larry, a liaison officer with Combined Ops. She falls instantly in love with Ed, who falls in love with her. So does Larry.

Mountbatten mounts a raid on the beaches at Dieppe. One of the worst disasters of the war, it sealed the fates of both Larry and Ed, and its repercussions will echo through the generations to come.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1408 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451687133
  • Publisher: Quercus (20 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009P1WE9A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,422 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

William Nicholson was born in 1948 and received his early education at Downside School, a Roman Catholic monastic school, set in the countryside near Bath.

He went on to study English Literature at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating with a double First Class degree in 1970. After leaving university, William joined BBC television, where he worked as a documentary film maker. It was not long before William's talent was channelled into writing for television dramas and his professional writing career took off.

William is perhaps best known as an acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter, whose work includes Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the Bafta award-winning Shadowlands, and Oscar-winning Gladiator.

He has written several screenplays for films due for future release, including Long Walk to Freedom, an adaptation of Nelson Mandela's autobiography.

Nicholson's first trilogy for young readers, The Wind on Fire, met with universal acclaim. Winner of the Smarties Gold Award and the Blue Peter Book Award. Nicholson's latest trilogy the Noble Warriors has also been enthusiastically received. The final book Noman is published on 4th September 2007:

'The events rip along, but the real strength of Nicholson's novel lies in its wonderful characters: Morning Star, drowning in the power of her love for Wildman, and Echo Kittle, captured by the enemy of Orlans' Daily Telegraph

His latest book, the highly anticipated Rich and Mad is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in-between.

Nicholson has been cited as one of the most gifted and imaginative writers alive in the world today. His adult titles include The Trial of True Love and The Society of Others.

William lives in Sussex with his wife Virginia, and their three children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
No spoilers in this review
I read an article in the Guardian interviewing the author a few days ago. I'd never even heard of him, but the article was spellbindingly interesting.
For this book there was a passage that earned him a 'bad sex award' and the article goes on to say

"Nicholson refused to play the good sport - although he did print up some Bad Socks award Christmas cards for his friends - and instead asserted the importance of dealing honestly with the subject and called for a Good Sex award. "It is not to do with just describing sex, it is to do with discussing our hopes and fears about something important. We have no idea if our sex lives are aberrant or not. We don't know whether we are undersexed or oversexed. People can actually benefit from these things being talked about more openly and truthfully."

I thought, ok, perfect, I'm going to check this guy out. So I went and got a copy of Motherland. A book with a chick-lit type cover (DO NOT let that put you off) about a love triangle between a woman and two men in WW2. I was only into it about 20 pages when I started to think. I absolutely love this. And it just got better and better.
The characterisation is simply astounding, you start to feel that you really know and care about these people and the way they communicate has none of the cliche of a lot of WW2 dramas we've been relentlessly exposed to, these are sentient flesh and blood people, of their own time, but timeless as well, aware that life is truly difficult to live well.

Rather than go on and on about the plot, you can read it yourself, I will just say that for me this is what fiction should be about, the human condition, about love and morality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read 23 Jan. 2014
The novel is discursive - perhaps it could be no other, given the range of themes. The Dieppe raid; independence for India - occurring with terrible bloodshed, as though in a sort of trance; family business; artistic creativity - and its absence; the vulnerability and waywardness of love, the way it colours our lives - makes it difficult - enhances it.

The characters are well realised, many with a strand of Catholicism. In some ways it is two relatively minor characters that stay with me most vividly. Geraldine, sad, limited, imbued with life-denying notions of Catholic duty - a tragic woman; and Nell, vigorous, pagan, forthright, brave, living life as fully as she can.

A very good, involving read. Strongly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story of WW2 and post-war India 24 April 2013
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
British author and screenwriter William Nicholson's new novel, "Motherland" is, in part, peopled with characters he's included in previous novels. This novel, which takes place - mainly in the WW2 era England and post-war/independent India - begins and ends with a modern setting, which establishes some of the characters and their places in the story. By the way, "Motherland" seems to refer to the British Empire.

For me as an Amazon reviewer, the hardest reviews to write are the 3 star reviews. At Amazon, 3 stars are lumped in with "negative" ratings, but they really shouldn't be. It's fairly easy to write a 4 or 5 star review; basically you either liked the book or really liked the book. One and 2 star reviews are equally easy to write; just explain the reasons you hated a book or why you really hated a book. Three stars, on the other hand, mean a mixed bag. I wish Amazon would view three stars as "neutral"; neither good nor bad, and possibly appealing to readers, while other readers shouldn't bother with it.

Nicholson's three main characters - one woman and two men - form the ever-popular romantic triangle. As with all love-triangles, there are winners and there are losers. In "Motherland", war-time ATS driver Kitty must choose between two soldier-suitors she meets during her driving duties. The problem is that we have met "Kitty", "Ed", and "Larry" many times before. Oh they may have had different names and been active in different wars, but basically a war-time romantic triangle is just that...a war-time romantic triangle. And although William Nicholson tries hard, his characters just don't step off the page and distinguish themselves in the reader's imagination.

That is not to say "Motherland" is a bad book. It's not. It's just not a rememberable one. The reader of war-time romances which continue into the dull days of the post-war will enjoy this book. He or she might just not remember it in a year.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Deep Vein of Melancholy 23 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having loved The Secret Intensity, I was delighted to see this Nicholson novel as a Kindle daily deal and promptly snapped it up. While not quite living up to earlier novel, it is still an excellent read, providing that you're not given to bouts of depression, in which case it may aggravate them.

Initially it seems to be the story of beautiful Kitty, loved by every man she meets, and dashing Ed, the war hero; but really it is the story of Larry, ordinary decent bloke, who also loves Kitty and longs to spurn the family banana import business in favour of being a painter.

It begins in 1942 as the three meet when they are all stationed on the south coast, proceeds through the disastrous Dieppe raid (which was new to me and hard to read about as hundreds of young men were sacrificed to the vanity of their leaders), through the struggles of post war England and Larry's traumatic trip to India with Mountbatten to preside over independence and partition, concluding in 1950 with tragedy. There is a completely pointless but mercifully short framing device and some excruciating sex scenes that should have been up for the Literary Review's Bad Sex Award.

It's elegantly written (apart from those sex scenes) and Larry is a deeply sympathetic character whose trials and tribulations can provoke only compassion and, eventually, hope. The minor players are interesting, from Nell, the pretentious artist's model, via Geraldine the frigid wife; from Larry's loving and nurturing father to Pamela, the precocious but charming child.

I don't know if Nicholson is a Catholic but all the main characters are and an element of Catholic guilt and fear pervades the novel. It left me feeling a little sad but lingers in my mind even after the last page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this book!
Wonderful book! Especially for those who, like myself, lived through the Blitz and all the bombing of London. Highly recommended!
Published 6 days ago by Mr. C. A. Gibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The item was well packed and met my expectations perfectly
Published 1 month ago by Tango Charlie
3.0 out of 5 stars Call me sad but when this book mixes fact with fiction it ...
Call me sad but when this book mixes fact with fiction it ought to get the facts straight and when they describe a plane as a FW109 rather than a BF109 or Me109 or a FW190 it... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Waggo60
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read. being a teenager in the period of ...
A very good read. being a teenager in the period of the book, very easy to relate to the story.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. E M Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Motherland
Good read
Published 2 months ago by MB
4.0 out of 5 stars an involving story
Slow to get started but conveys the tension of a love triangle against the backdrop of WWII, the turmoil in India and a family banana importing business.
Published 3 months ago by Sharon Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner!
I loved this book. William Nicolson has a way with describing the characters, and the reader can visualise them from the outset. His prose is beautiful. Read more
Published 4 months ago by polly
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book. It was well researched and the characters were well drawn. I've read quite a few books recently with a war background and found this to be one of the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Grey Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars A good story with good characters
This made me look for more William Nicholson books.
Published 4 months ago by PatF
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Many thanks
Published 5 months ago by Maureen Carmichael
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