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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Evocative
I have no doubt that Wake is going to be included in my Top Ten books of 2014, I know that it's only January, but this is a book that has had a huge effect on me. The writing is sublime, but the story is one of horror and shame, and of ordinary people whose lives were left devastated by what was supposed to be 'the war to end all wars.'

Told over just five...
Published 18 months ago by Lincs Reader

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically interesting but struggled to connect with the characters
I chose this book as it had been recommended by radio 2. Whilst it was historically interesting and well written, I struggled to connect with the characters. It also ended quite abruptly and I felt that there was still things to conclude. Maybe this was done on purpose to give the reader the same bereft feeling that the characters had. I wouldn't recommend but still...
Published 16 months ago by Vanillafish


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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Evocative, 21 Jan. 2014
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Wake (Hardcover)
I have no doubt that Wake is going to be included in my Top Ten books of 2014, I know that it's only January, but this is a book that has had a huge effect on me. The writing is sublime, but the story is one of horror and shame, and of ordinary people whose lives were left devastated by what was supposed to be 'the war to end all wars.'

Told over just five days and ending on Armistice Day - November 11 1920, Wake is a portrait of the lives of three women; Hettie, Evelyn and Ada. Each of these women bear the scars of the the great war, and each of them are trying to deal with life in London that has changed forever. As the reader learns about the women, we are also following the journey home of the Unknown Warrior - an unnamed solider, taken from the trenches of France and being brought home to rest in London.

As we enter 2014, a hundred years on from the beginning of World War I, it is only to be expected that there will be many books published this year to commemorate the event. Wake is one of those, but does not focus on the war years themselves. Wake looks at the lives left behind, the women who waved goodbye to their sons, fathers, brothers and lovers, some of them never welcomed them home again. Some of them welcomed home a changed man, a man who would never speak of his experiences, a man who will never be able to support his family again, a man who was left crushed and broken by what he saw in France.

Hettie spends her days at the Palais, selling dances with strangers for sixpence a day, and dreaming of bigger and brighter places. Evelyn punishes herself by working in the pensions office, every day seeing the aftermath of war as bruised and broken men queue up for assistance. Ada sees her dead son Michael everywhere, but struggles to speak to her husband. Although at first these three woman appear to be completely separate, it becomes clear that they are linked together by events that took place many miles away on the battlefields and in the trenches.

Wake is powerful and evocative, it is a tender but at the same time, brutal look at the aftermath of war. Anna Hope's writing flows with such ease, her use of prose and descriptions are beautiful and haunting
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressively woven tale, 16 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Wake (Hardcover)
This is an impressive debut. The narrative story of the return of the body of the Unknown Warrior to Westminster after the peace is skilfully interwoven with the stories of women, all in some way affected by and responding to loss in the First World War. Between the two strands, a clear picture is painted of the national emotional significance of the symbolic Warrior, an Everyman for the bereaved at home. For many parents, wives, friends families who had seen their men off on trains from 1914, there was little or no closure: no funerals and bodies remained on foreign soil under IWGC policy, despite protests, largely by families who could afford to bring them back. But this single repatriation offered some consolation for all - 'he is not lost, he is here'.

The women are intriguingly drawn and varied characters, and so are the men who have returned, all in some way damaged and sympathetically treated. The bloody business of fighting is not seen directly but refracted through the prism of memory - and more effective for it. The War research has been well done, and there are few errors of received 'wisdom' that I could see, although I fear we will continue to see the 'shot at dawn' cliche far too often over the next 5 years. More than 80% of convicted cases had the death sentence commuted, most often by Haig himself; the 306 deaths are undoubtedly sad, but statistically not as widespread as TV and fiction would have us believe.

The book is beautifully written with a very sure ear for dialogue and plotting - no coincidence perhaps from the ARC jacket blurb that the first-time author is an actor. I hear a second novel is on the way so I predict and applaud a successful change of dayjob. There will be many more WW1 books - Mariella Frostrup predicts a thousand this year alone - but this one is well worth reading early.

Hats off too to the jacket designer for a stunning image, courageous for avoiding the visual cliché of the uniformed Tommy standing wearily, back turned to the viewer. Look for that on less original books.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically interesting but struggled to connect with the characters, 15 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Wake (Kindle Edition)
I chose this book as it had been recommended by radio 2. Whilst it was historically interesting and well written, I struggled to connect with the characters. It also ended quite abruptly and I felt that there was still things to conclude. Maybe this was done on purpose to give the reader the same bereft feeling that the characters had. I wouldn't recommend but still glad I read it as I knew little about the unknown soldier
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly moving, beautifully written, novel, 18 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Wake (Hardcover)
It is hard to know what I loved most about this novel: the characters who drew me in, the rich portrayal of the period, the moving depiction of the journey of the unknown warrior, so seamlessly interwoven into the plot, or the simple, highly atmospheric way in which Anna Hope portrays the war's weight of desolation and dreadful dislocation on those left, and their first tentative steps into moving forward. For Ada and Evelyn especially, I was moved to tears by their stories, both during the war, and in the five days we spend with them in November 1920.

It is a long time since I have been swept away by a novel in the way I have been by Wake - I read it in little under two days, I couldn't put it down. Now that I have finished, I feel a little lost. I want to go back and spend more time with the characters, and not just Ada, Evelyn and Hettie (who I loved), but also Ed and Fraser and the other more minor characters besides.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough. It is, in my opinion, a truly beautiful novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Felt a bit disapointed., 12 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Wake (Kindle Edition)
Unfortunately for me Anna Hope did not create the atmosphere of a recently war torn country in 1920. I did not resonate with any of the characters and felt that there was almost a certain contrivance by the author about how they were inter-linked with each other. Their individual stories took a long time to unfold and I wondered where the story was going. The description of the ceremony of burying an unknown soldier was well done by the author and portrayed vividly and poignantly the need of a nation for "closure" and to move forward.from the terrible horrors and personal losses of World War One. However after the ceremony I felt that the characters were too quick in attempting to forget about it all, which for me felt rather cold. It was a brilliant concept to write about the story of the unknown soldier and I did learn a lot about how the idea came about and how the Government and Military undertook the whole issue. For me, if I find a book is good, then I read it again. Unfortunately I do not feel inclined to do so with this book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1920 and the lingering effects of World War I, 16 Jan. 2014
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Wake (Kindle Edition)
For those who fought in World War I there were two likely outcomes: they would die or they would be damaged, for the women who loved them life was less certain.

Anna Hope has written a beautiful book following the five days prior to the internment of The Unknown Warrior at the Cenotaph. Each chapter is a day and each of those days follows the journey of the coffin from France to Britain for the ceremony.

The depth of descriptions of each the lives of the three women featured is outstanding, Ada, 45, whose son never returned from the war. Evelyn almost 30 and lives with a friend, another spinster and goes to work each day in the Pension Exchange interviewing the wounded and Hettie who lives with her mother and shell-shocked brother Fred who is employed as a dancer at The Hammersmith Palais de Danse. As the days go on the more we learn about these poor lost women and the men who surround them.

The book could be considered a little confusing to begin with as the women are introduced with no real link between them, all are unhappy and yearning for something better. This is a book that leaves you in no doubt that the two short years since the war ended has not healed the wounds inflicted upon the nation. All three women reveal more of their backstory as the book goes on. I am a fan of this kind of writing where the details are revealed layer by layer and our knowledge of the character grows throughout the book.

For me this was a beautiful, if incredibly moving read with all the historical details appearing authentic. I received this book from the publishers Random House UK, in return for this honest review, something I am extremely grateful for as this book is one of those that will stay with me for a long time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "`War wins,' he says. `And it keeps on winning, over and over again.'", 16 Jan. 2014
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wake (Hardcover)
Shrewdly published at the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, this is a beautifully subtle and emotionally restrained novel, but one which conceals an undertow of violence and brutality.

Set in the five days leading up to 11 November 1920 and the ceremony for the burial of the Unnamed Warrior in London, this traces the emotional journeys of three women, all of whom have suffered losses as a result of the war.

Hope manages to convey the anguish of her characters without allowing them to stray into hand-wringing sentimentality. Evelyn's brother connects the three women and his subtly different identities - Ed to Hettie, Edward to his family, Captain Montfort to the men who once served under him - mark the way characters refuse to be easily fixed in this book, and are more complicated than we sometimes find in fiction, especially WW1 fiction.

This isn't a book full of drama, it's much quieter than that, with a kind of sepia-tinted emotional aura about it. Hope is a poised and assured writer, and the title with its resonances of both burial and resurrection give a feel for the delicate texture of this book.

So this is a fine book, and Anna Hope a writer to watch - highly recommended.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wake, 19 Mar. 2015
By 
Aurora (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wake (Paperback)
I bought this book on the strength of a glowing review I had seen pinned up in a bookshop, whilst I wouldn't go as far as that reviewer, I certainly liked it. The author had clearly done a great deal of research to get her details and time sequences right. It cleverly mingles the experience of three different women whose lives are affected by the wartime experiences of the men in their lives, be they brothers, lovers or sons. Throughout the story there is an awareness that there is some shocking event which no-one connected wants to speak about but there is a need that it should be spoken of. Once it has been, there is space for healing to begin. The events the book is primarily concerned with are contained within a very short time span, which coincides the choosing of the unknown soldier and the journey of his remains from a French battlefield to the funeral service and interment in Westminster Abbey. During those five days, tensions are raised and psychological wounds are cleansed as events conspire to bring secrets long hidden to light. For some, it is better not to know, and they have to come to terms with loss and the lack of information in order to live again. Much of the story relates to the mundane activities of daily life, but in places the truth causes more grief and shockingly violent reactions. By the end of the story, the ceremonial funeral of the unknown soldier does indeed help to bring the beginnings of peace and restoration.

As a debut novel this shows great promise and I look forward to seeing many more books from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, Thought-Provoking and Beautifully Written Debut Novel, 28 Mar. 2014
By 
Mrs. C. Colbert (Blackburn, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wake (Hardcover)
The backdrop to Anna Hope's impressive debut novel Wake is the journey home to Britain, over five days in November 1920, of an anonymous soldier killed in WWI with all the ceremony and dignity of a nation still recovering from the terrible conflict.

Interspersed with this are the lives of three women: Hettie, Ada and Evelyn. They all lead very different lives but have all shared loss, hardship and suffering.

Over these five days we share in their memories of their loved ones, and how they are slowly changing as new people come into their lives and remind them that there can be hope for a better future, there can be happiness if you allow yourself to let go.

I thought it was very clever how Anna Hope connected all the women to each other without them realising it.

I found the story to be very moving in parts, very poignant, thought-provoking, beautifully written and with characters to empathise with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving WW1 Tale, 2 Feb. 2014
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wake (Kindle Edition)
This moving and beautifully written debut novel looks at the lives of a cast of very different characters who were all affected, directly or indirectly, by the horrors of WW1. Principally it features three women – Evelyn, Ada and Hettie - who lost a lover, son and brother respectively, whether through death or, in Hettie’s case, through seeing her brother return from The Front a broken and damaged man.

In 1920 Britain was slowly recovering and trying to rebuild itself after the decimation and misery wrought by the War. Each of the three main characters is haunted by memories of loved ones who didn’t return, and those men who did make it back carry a legacy of guilt for their fallen comrades. Meanwhile injured and limbless veterans are seemingly abandoned by the state, left to scrape a living by selling dishcloths or begging on street corners.

A recurring theme running throughout the book is the recovery and burial of the body of The Unknown Warrior. We meet the soldiers who are sent onto the battlefield to recover the remains, the undertakers who are charged with transporting the coffin back to Britain and the crowds who line the streets of London to pay homage and remembrance to this poignant symbol of what they have lost.

It sounds bleak, but this powerful and compelling account of grief and survival is compassionate and ultimately uplifting. I had tears in my eyes as I read the last few pages and I’d love to see it adapted for TV or film. It compares very well to Pat Barker’s WW1 novels and in this year of remembrance, when many books will be released to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the War, I’m sure this is going to be one of the best. It certainly had a lasting effect on me and will no doubt feature in my top 5 books of the year.
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Wake
Wake by Anna Hope (Hardcover - 16 Jan. 2014)
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