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The War Before Mine

The War Before Mine [Kindle Edition]

Caroline Ross
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Product Description


'Ross proves herself a versatile and senstive chronicler of the world at war and a bright new star of Welsh writing.' - Sunday Telegraph

'Ross eschews the tropes of romantic fiction and confounds our expectations with a novel which is far more than a simple love story. The plot twists and turns in so many directions, it keeps you in its grip to the very last page. A hugely enjoyable read, easy yet well-informed, light yet crammed with poetic images and unafraid to confront the harshness of war and its long-lasting consequences.' - Sarah Bower, The Historical Novels Review

'complex and engaging' --- Western Mail

'Moving and involving. As it shifts from delicate love story to scenes of gunfire and battle, the pace never relents, its characters both appeal and convince' -- James Friel

'More than a war story, more than a love story... A slice of living history.' -- Philip Gross

Product Description

Alex Mullen child migrant is the product of a wartime romance, but did the romance survive the hostilities?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 495 KB
  • Print Length: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Honno Press (22 Dec 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #107,104 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Caroline Ross worked as a financial journalist for many years, as well as writing features and short stories. She wrote her first novel, 'The War Before Mine', which is partly set on the Isle of Wight where she grew up, whilst completing an MPhil at the University of Glamorgan and now teaches English in Wrexham. She lives with her husband, theatre director Teddy Kiendl, in North Wales. The couple lived for several years in Newcastle upon Tyne where 'Small Scale Tour' is set.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely absorbing 19 Dec 2008
What a fantastic read! The meticulous planning of the narrative draws you into the lives of the principal characters and makes this a novel you simply won't want to put down. The characters are subtly drawn and sympathetic. The description of the raid in France is one of the most vivid descriptions of battle I've ever read, the evocation of pre and post war England evokes a sense of place and context effortlessly. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended 25 Nov 2008
I loved this novel. It is a very well-told tale, a real page-turner. The historical setting of the Second World War made it all the more moving. It was a battle I knew nothing about, but it brought home the horrors of war in a very personal way. Those individual soldiers and their thoughts brought tears to my eyes. The main characters in particular were beautifully depicted with trips into the past to reveal their difficult backgrounds. I couldn't wait to find out the ending to the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 1 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very well researched on WWII. A war story as well as a love story, The War Before Mine uses a real event, the famous Raid on St Nazaire, to explore the idea of separation and what it meant to men, women and children.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page-turner 8 Aug 2013
Before I started reading this book the title intrigued me. It is a splendid book and I enjoyed it immensely. Being approximately the same age as the two principal characters I am amazed how the author, who was not born at the time of the action, has captured the feel of those strange and terrible years. I cavil with one general portrayal and with one minor detail but the page turning excitement of the plot and the redolence of the action render these of little importance.

The writing is delightfully straightforward and the dialogue racy but a few passages must be mentioned as being particularly poignant and beautiful. When Philip, about to a engage in a particularly dangerous action imagines his father receiving the news of his death and kneeling to pray on the soil of his kitchen garden among the sprouts (p53). And again when he felt himself drowning `...the water spoke to him in a soothing voice...' (p167). I was much moved too by the juxtaposition of Rose in the agony of giving birth and Philip slowly submerging into the dark waters of the Loire (p229).

Ever since I first read Antonio's description of Octavia's crying -`There's April in her eyes and these the showers to bring them on', I have always been fascinated by the use of original metaphors. So when I read `ghostly sheep'; `breath pluming in the cold air' and `the flour she stroked through the sieve was silk under her fingers' I thought, yes, let's have some more of this. And whilst I'm referring to figures of speech I liked the example of meiosis towards the end, and I'm quoting from memory, when Rosie enters the bar at Waterloo station with `the top two buttons of her cardigan missing after her interview with the priest'!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning, mesmerising 14 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I could hardly bear to put it down, which is fitting for a book about separation. Very, very moving and powerful.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown Away 14 Nov 2008
'Blown Away' pretty much sums up my extremely positive reaction to this novel of the Second World War. The phrase also seems appropriate for the story the author is telling us. The people who grew up or lived their early adulthood during the Second World War are being blown away by time, circumstance and geography. When I put down The War Before Mine I realised how stupidly slow I'd been to question my own family about their war. They did not speak about it much and I - though curious - had not grabbed them when I could have. I thought that there would be plenty of time. But time blows away, and it's too late now.
Ms Ross credits her sources - and gives a voice to the likes of Billy Stephens (a commander of one of the launches at the St Nazaire raid); Micky Burn (a captain in the commandos) and many others. So there was a really palpable feeling for this reader throughout the novel that I was reading true things. But what good historial fiction manages - and Ms Ross pulls off wonderfully - is to provide the 'fictional truth' the telling details, the emotions, the smells, the dislocations, and heartache, which the historian cannot give if s/he hopes to remain 'respectible'.
Those blown-away everyday heroes come across through, say, the films of Jack Hawkins or Noel Coward as stiff upper lip cockleshell heroes with no time for anything except the task in hand. No time for erections, family break-ups, fear, or any of the Wilfred Owenish dirty realism of the whole awful situation that will blow them away one way or another. This book takes on those themes. The reader is 'there' in that blown away time, reading a wonderful tale that spans the time between the characters and their descendents. The reader feels involved, partly because implicated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this 19 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A skilfully written novel which successfully combined a variety of narrative threads set against the meticulously researched historical background. I really enjoyed reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricate and gripping. 2 Aug 2011
This novel is a wonderful mix of heart-wrenching loss and beautiful romance. It tackles the war head on yet handles civilian life too. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love conquers all
Thoroughly engaging and readable story, part daring tale of wartime escapades in Europe, and part love story in England. Totally believable, and well recommended.
Published 19 days ago by Gill-EJ
3.0 out of 5 stars The war before mine
I really enjoyed the book. At tomes I found the switching from the decades very confusing. However a well researched and interesting subject and beautifully written
Published 6 months ago by Linda smouton
5.0 out of 5 stars The War Before Mine
A true insight into what the ordinary folks lives were like. A good story and I would recommend this as a good read.
Published 8 months ago by Readamore
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to give to all your friends
I was so impressed by this book, I read it twice in quick succession and I'm looking forward to reading it again before too long. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Hilary Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars War before Mine
A story that captures the essence of life during WWII and explores the difficulties many faced in their lives. Loved Rosie's great courage. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars unexpected pleasure
really enjoyed this book, not my usual type but it kept me interested and good timing for all the acknowledgments of how the first world war impacted on people
Published 11 months ago by Jo D
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
I enjoyed this book very much. It is well written. The characters are portrayed with sympathy and the historical backgrounds are authentic. Read more
Published 12 months ago by mjm38
5.0 out of 5 stars wartime voices
Caroline Ross has a wonderful ear and the uncanny ability to give voice to a whole sweep of characters. Read more
Published 12 months ago by strawberry yogi
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
An excellent, moving novel. Illustrates just what a bunch of ***** the Catholic church (well, all churches) is run by. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dons83
5.0 out of 5 stars Cruelty to children
Sympathetic writing about the plight of children involved in this infamous and cruel emigration system and how it affected their whole lives.
Published 13 months ago by rosemary anne stockbridge
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