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The Year After [Paperback]

Martin Davies
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

13 Sep 2012

DECEMBER 1919. Tom Allen, uncomfortable in London after five years in uniform, receives an invitation to spend Christmas at Hannesford Court.

It's almost as if nothing has changed. Cards in the library after dinner. The Boxing Day shoot. The New Year ball. Margot.

But Tom hasn't forgotten the professor. A strange meeting in Germany has raised a question in his mind: in all his visits to Hannesford before the War, all those years observing the glittering life of its owners, how much did he ever really see?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (13 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340980443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340980446
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 159,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martin Davies grew up in North West England. All his writing is done in cafes, on buses or on tube trains, and an aversion to laptops means that he always works in longhand. He lives in London and works as a consultant in the broadcasting industry.

Martin Davies has travelled widely, including in the Middle East and India, and he often plots his novels while abroad; substantial parts of The Unicorn Road were written while travelling through Sicily, and his plan for The Conjuror's Bird was put together on a trekking holiday in Greenland.

Martin Davies' books have been translated into twelve languages.

Product Description


Martin Davies' book intelligently takes apart the myth of a pre-war idyll and locates conflict and suffering in England itself. (Independent on Sunday)

What starts as a story of personal and social displacement, lilts into a drama of unrequited love and secrets that had been buried for five years are exposed to daylight. It begins as a background storyline, but as twist follows twist, the truth is exhumed, building to a crescendo with effects that remain unpredictable right through to the last pages . . . A page-turner that'll attract Downton Abbey fans as well as those who like their post-Great War drama slightly heavier, as in Atonement. This is a literary time machine, recapturing a crueler era while topping the experience with an enticing mystery. (The Book Bag)

THE YEAR AFTER is a moving story of love, loss, and the struggle to adapt to the world in the aftermath of that most destructive of conflicts. Combining such lofty themes as war and death with tales of burning passions, unrequited love and unsolved mysteries, the author deftly weaves a compelling and highly readable narrative . . . Davies proves to be a master of the evocative. His descriptions of frosty winter mornings on the moors, or the heady, sweet-smelling days of high summer are breathtaking (We Love This Book)

There's a profound mystery at the heart of the family at Hannesford Court and Davies unravels it in lush, painterly prose . . . A joy, and I confess to a certain below-stairs fascination with the workings of this mysterious house. (Saga)

I just had to keep reading . . . The perfect holiday read. (Woman)

[An] intriguing period novel, which is full of evocative descriptions. (Star)

Excels in evoking rural England of the early 20th Century and the closed hierarchical world of the 'big house', and chronicles the shock, grief and bewilderment as this world blows apart. There are obvious echoes of Gone With The Wind. Unlike the antebellum South, aristocratic England was on the winning side in its war but its way of life, if not quite blown away, was badly shaken and lost its sense of permanence and legitimacy. THE YEAR AFTER mix[es] nostalgia and cynicism, a gracious world with a dark underside that maybe deserved to do, if not with so much suffering. (Historical Novels Review)

A satisfying mystery with a touch of romance, it also takes on the big themes of loss and grief. Involving. (Herald Sun (Australia))

I'm fond of revisiting the years immediately after World War I, when nostalgia for a lost generation seemed to give everything a wistfully golden glow. Martin Davies seeks this light with his period-piece novel. (Sunday Canberra Times (Australia))

Intricate and imaginative (The Times on THE UNICORN ROAD)

The storytelling is masterly. Just as you notice a loose end, the author deftly ties it . . . Loss is stacked upon loss, and yet this novel leaves you oddly uplifted; for all the suffering the characters endure, their courage never deserts them, nor, in the end, do their hopes betray them. (Independent on Sunday on THE UNICORN ROAD)

Compelling and poignant . . . a fictional setting which is at once magical and believable (TLS on THE UNICORN ROAD)

This magical flight of fancy in the highly charged Middle Ages comes from the lyrical and atmospheric author of the massive bestseller, THE CONJUROR'S BIRD . . . a heady, breathless mix of history, mystery and romance (Daily Mirror on THE UNICORN ROAD)

The voice is fantastic... So readable and enjoyable and multi-layered (Boyd Hilton, Radio Five Live on THE UNICORN ROAD)

I'm really struck by the voice...Not only is your style extremely elegant but I absolutely believed in the authenticity of this voice...It adds a sense of mystery and farawayness and magic to the story (Joanna Trollope, Radio Five Live on THE UNICORN ROAD)

Book Description

An evocative, romantic novel from the author of THE CONJUROR'S BIRD, a Richard & Judy bestseller, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, atmospheric read - thoroughly recommended 19 Aug 2011
The Year After tells the story of Captain Tom Allen coming home from the trenches of the First World War. He is thrown back into the world he left behind, where friends are now scarred and saddened by loss. Events that had simmered and boiled over on the eve of war are once again thrown up, to be finally understood in tragic hindsight. Martin Davies has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of grief and despair, lightly glossed over by determination to uphold traditions of an English country houseparty. I enjoyed the characters that he painted and the details of the world that they lived in. It leaves you with a great deal to contemplate, particularly the idea that the soldiers who died on the battlefield were more revered than the ones that made it home. I would heartily recommend as a great page-turner of a story and as a portrayal of a moment in time when Britain was reverberating from devastating losses and trying to work out a way forward through the grief.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin Davies is getting better and better... 14 Oct 2011
The twin viewpoint he uses here will be a familiar device to those who enjoyed The Conjuror's Bird which went down so well with Richard and Judy. But this is a more perfect book. I read it more or less in one sitting which for me is really something. I was absolutely gripped. Downton Abbey Series 2 enthusiasts will know the territory and so will those who know the film The Shooting Party. But lovers of Brideshead Revisited and Atonement (although the war here is an earlier one) will also find familiar ground. While the book is about 1919, The Year After, it is also about the year before the Great War and the gap between. The intoxicating aura of the golden boy, the painful recovery of the damaged survivor - these are powerful themes to ponder. Bravo Mr Davies!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful mystery elegantly told 2 Sep 2011
I couldn't put The Year After down, but it is so much more than a "summer read". Captain Tom Allen epitomizes a man suddenly adrift at the end of the Great War. An invitation back to the country-house society of his previous life causes him to question whether that world, and more particularly its dazzling protagonists, was quite as it seemed. This novel highlights the veneer of pre-war polite society, which for those with a keen and dispassionate eye (or in Tom's case, the benefit of hindsight) was covering a great deal of rot. It also heralds the first signs of a new world, where women are looking for more than a "good" marriage, those below-stairs don't necessarily follow orders... and returning soldiers must deal with their physical and emotional wounds stoically when only the dead are heralded as true heroes. Whilst The Year After has a great deal to say, I particularly loved how well-drawn its main characters were (mindful of The Remains of the Day), and that Davies still delivers a good mystery with a historical setting. I reckon it's his best yet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, atmospheric story 28 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Martin Davies has done it again with an absorbing and clever novel set in the aftermath of World War 1. Quite different to the Conjuror's Bird which I adored, but no less gripping. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Highly Readable 26 Sep 2012
It is Christmas 1919 and Captain Tom Allen, who has recently been demobbed, has returned to England after years of fighting at the Front in the Great War. Finding it difficult to adjust to being back home, Tom spends a few days in London, and it is while he is feeling in this unsettled frame of mind, that he receives a letter from Lady Stansbury, inviting him to spend Christmas at Hannesford Court, the family's country home, where Tom spent much of his free time before the war. At first, Tom is reluctant to accept the invitation; he tells himself that the halcyon days he spent at Hannesford Court have gone forever and there is no point in trying to recapture the lost past. Harry Stansbury, Tom's friend, has been killed in action; Harry's brother, Reggie, has been horrifically disfigured and disabled; and his beautiful sister, Margot, has lost her fiancé, the rich and handsome Julian Trevelyan.

However, when Tom receives a rather strange letter from Freddie Masters, an old friend of Harry's (who, like Tom, was a regular visitor to Hannesford Court) asking him questions about the sudden and unexpected death of a certain Professor Schmidt, Tom's curiosity is aroused. Schmidt was a German professor, who was staying at Hannesford Court in the months before the outbreak of war and, although Freddie is not openly suggesting foul play, the tone of his letter hints at that possibility; therefore, when Tom discovers that Freddie will be at Hannesford for Christmas, he decides to accept Lady Stansbury's invitation, especially when he receives an encouraging letter from the lovely Margot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War...did not end neatly..... 10 Sep 2012
By Chaucer
Yes, I'm a confirmed fan of Marin Davies' novels and I think this is my favourite so far. I like the way this was told from the point of the survivors and how difficult that is. There is a satisfying plot that teases us along but also moments of tremendous poignancy and sadness. The writer conveys well the complex feelings of those who have been affected by loss but feel guilt at either surviving or rebuilding their lives. How we remember the dead is a recurrent theme. I felt I began to grasp emotionally how it must have been for that whole generation. Well worth reading and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
I've always loved Martin Davies's books: he writes so well. Interestingly his books are so diverse. And true to form, this one is very different from his others. Read more
Published 2 months ago by K. Wets
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
In the years before the First World War, Sir Robert and Lady Stansbury of Hannesford Court in Devon held a Summer and a New Years Eve Ball. Read more
Published 6 months ago by roustabout
4.0 out of 5 stars Can;t wait for next novel
I brought this as a gift and the person kept on updating me, which is great but she spolit the ending! A deep read and throws you into a glamous era.
Published 7 months ago by LOUISA BLACK
5.0 out of 5 stars The Year After
"I had imagined peace would be a resumption of the world I knew; I had been wrong."

I thoroughly enjoyed another book by this author, The Unicorn Road, and thought the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Keen Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Very good read - takes us back to 1919 just after the Great War and the effect it had on one rich family in Devon. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Bleakhouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Insights
Martin Davies uses how we usually look without seeing, notice the veneer but not the total reality, because we are engrossed in our own experience at any given time. Read more
Published 15 months ago by BarbaraM
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
I chose this book at random for a break from heavy academic reading. I am always drawn to early 20th century settings, but the mention of ' country house' can sometime make me... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Cassandra
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent story.
Having thoroughly enjoyed reading Martin's previous novels and their twisting, emotional plots; I was really looking forward to this latest novel.
I was not disappointed. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2011 by Super~D~M~F~Hell
5.0 out of 5 stars laptops
This is another superb book from a master storyteller. As ever, Davies is brilliant at evoking a time and place, which is extremely moving in itself, in this case as the First... Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2011 by topsham1
5.0 out of 5 stars A 3rd excellent Martin Davies' Book!
What a great read. Different from Martin's other books so no danger of being "samey" or boring. Would make a great film. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2011 by A Hall
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