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A Kiss From France Paperback – 19 Jul 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Silverwood Books (19 July 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781324034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781324035
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,427,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A Kiss from France is "a promising debut novel, showcasing a very good author to watch in future." Janey Hill, Historical Novel Society. Long listed for Historical Novel Society Annual Indie Award 2017.

About the Author

Susan Hughes grew up near a small mining village in Northumberland. For as long as she can remember books have been a part of her life. When she didn't have her nose in a book she was climbing trees, catching water boatmen from a nearby burn or go-carting in country lanes with the kids next door. After University she worked in the City of London during the frenetic 'Big Bang' boom of financial de-regulation, before marriage and family life led to a desire for a change of gear. A move to the rural West Country enabled her to raise her sons near the coast, encouraged her to indulge her penchant for visiting country piles, while also keeping up her reading habit by patronising the local bookstore. She became a writer almost by accident, after she found a handful of WWI silk postcards in a box of her grandmother's possessions. The romantic greeting on one of these inspired her to weave a story around its imagined sender and recipient. It became her first novel, ' A Kiss from France'. She is now working on her second book.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
For me this was a winner from the first page. A great story, well written with a true feeling for the period. There's everything here: love, guilt, loss, betrayal and a lot of sadness - so have the tissues handy!

Lizzie, Eunice and Peggy all work together in a munitions factory in London. Eunice's husband Jack has gone off to war, conscripted after he refused to volunteer - something that has angered and humiliated her. Lizzie has slipped a note into a box of ammunition. The note has been responded to by soldier Harry Slater and now he's coming home on leave to see her. Lizzie is looking forward to meeting him and seeing if he measures up to her romantic vision. And Peggy is a girl who lives for the moment. In her words 'we could all be dead tomorrow.'

The book follows these three characters, although Lizzie and Eunice take the lion's share of the story as their lives become caught up in a most unexpected and ultimately tragic way.

I really couldn't put this book down and as I reached the end I was sure how it was all going to finish. I have to say I was surprised when I'd reached the last page and the outcome was quite different. I'm not sure what the author's plans are but I would love to see a sequel.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoy historical fiction set during the First World War and the title of this one grabbed my attention. A note posted in a box of ammunition shells, wishing luck to a soldier on the front line, gets a reply and life in the East End of London changes forever. The war had already forced change on the role of women; girls free from a life in service were now working in the munitions factories, living with more freedom and money than they ever had before, but life was far from easy. Lizzie is a strong and independent woman who may not always make the best choices, but certainly has great passion for life and wasn’t afraid to make decisions that some might have felt inappropriate for her position. Eunice initially came across as cold, hard and in control, but as the story unfolds and we learn of her pain and suffering, my feelings towards her softened.

There were quite a few twists in the plot and plenty of story lines to keep me page turning, but some things that were hinted at in later parts of the novel seemed to fizzle out unexpectedly. It may be that I am a bit of a drama queen, but I was expecting more drama from the end of the book, although it did reach a satisfactory conclusion. It is certainly an emotional novel with passion, compassion, deceit, loss and grief, which seemed to me to be a realistic portrayal of life during the First World War, mainly from the point of view of the women left behind, but not forgetting the horror of life in the trenches. This would be a great read for lovers of historical fiction.

I was sent a copy of this book for an honest review.
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Format: Paperback
If you like historical fiction, particularly war-time fiction then this book is for you. The story follows Lizzie Fenwick during the 1st World War as she works in a munitions factory. The work is hard yet there is a sense of satisfaction amongst the women that they are contributing to the war effort. They may not be out on the front lines but they are fighting their own battles back home. Lizzie doesn't quite seem to fit in with the other girls in the factory. She has a couple of friends she'd consider close but really they are work colleagues - Eunice and Peggy. Their boss seems to favour Lizzie and she is able to use that to her advantage at times.

Lizzie puts a note in a munitions box and never for one moment suspected that a soldier on the front line would respond to it. And so begins a correspondence between them that seems to help them through the terrors of war. When the opportunity to meet arises, Lizzie finds herself falling hard for her soldier. Yet, all is not what it seems and Lizzie soon ends up with more than she bargains for. But there is more sadness and indeed a few twists and turns to come Lizzie's way and some of it did make me sit with my mouth open!

Whilst Lizzie is of course our main protagonist, her friends Eunice and Peggy each have their own stories throughout the book and I have to say, I found both quite tragic and profoundly sad. Eunice is a woman who has been through so much grief that it is difficult for the reader to comprehend the level of her heartache. Her coldness towards her husband who has been fighting on the front line is at first startling. However, all is not as it seems with Eunice and her story goes so much deeper. Peggy appears to be the cocky one out of the three of them.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A Kiss from France is a historical drama set in wartime London. It’s about two women, Eunice and Lizzie, who work at an ammunitions factory during the war. The degree to which both women’s lives will be heartbreakingly intertwined is gradually revealed through a tight and twisting plot.

Although the binding element in the novel is a love story between Lizzie and a soldier with whom she corresponds during the war, I wouldn’t consider this novel strictly speaking a romance. There are other major themes which surpass the love story, such as, loss, betrayal, post-traumatic stress disorder, prejudice, marriage and motherhood, all against a backdrop of the final months of WWI and the beginning of the post war economically deprived and emotionally battered England.

I was impressed by the way it deals with the trauma and desperation of those who return home from war, and the emptiness and pain of those who stayed behind and witnessed the return of men whose minds and lives were irrevocably broken. It’s about how exceptional and extreme situations, like wars, affect the lives of ordinary people in their daily lives, and influence their perception of life and love.

The author describes the toils and peculiarities of wartime England, pulling us into this powerful and moving story of unprecedented sacrifices and passion. The characters are authentically portrayed, in their despair, as well as their goodness, and struggle for survival in an unfair and cruel world. The outcome is surprising, yet unexpectedly realistic, rather than romantic.

A must read for lovers of intense novels set in wartime London.
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