I felt somewhat dissatisfied reading this novel. It has a predictable storyline, and I had some effort finishing it. There were certainly no surprises. I felt neither engaged nor drawn along with the narrative. Based during World War One, I had little sense of that period’s atmosphere, either on the home front or in France, so lacking in immediacy. Although some of the horrors of trench warfare are touched on, I didn’t experience the emotional reaction as perhaps from “Birdsong” by Sebastian Faulkes, or in the more recent novel, “Worthless Men” by Andrew Cowan. Both these examples are gripping, with much tension, and convey a disturbing and unsettling realism in comparison. The characters in this novel have little depth to them and quite stereotypical.
I felt a little perplexed too with how the relationships are described and developed, the interactions having a wooden quality at times. It as if the relationships form almost out of the blue, with little sense of a natural progression.
I found the nature of the relationship between George and Violet particularly weak. Taking into account their differences in social class, the demarcation between them is not really explored, either from the start of the initial friendship, to the rather odd attempt at some sort of resolution from George upon his return from the Front. The language often has a mawkish sentimentality that grated on me, and I just did not appreciate these elements. It errs too much towards the genre of a simple romantic fiction, and I did not find it particularly psychologically sound.
This sounds very negative and harsh, but my opinion is based on initial expectations of the novel from the flyleaf. However, to its credit, there is a nice easy style to the writing and it flows along quite nicely. If the reader is looking for something undemanding and not too deep based around this period, then this could be a good choice, but not a novel I would re-read