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on 16 August 2014
Lilly, or Lady Elizabeth as she is formally known, hails from an esteemed aristocratic family, used to every manner of luxury; yet her privileged lifestyle comes at a cost. It often seems to Lilly as though her entire life is dictated by her mother, and she finds herself frustrated by the constant restrictions and limitations she faces. When war breaks out in 1914, however, Lilly is absolutely determined to do her bit, whatever her mother thinks! Cut off from her family after an act of disobedience, Lilly joins the WAAC, and finds herself posted to the front lines of France as an ambulance driver. Though accosted by horrors she could hardly even have imagined, and life in France a far cry to that which she has been used to, Lilly embraces her position and making new friends begins to shine and feel a new sense of purpose. Furthermore, when her path meets with Robbie's, a friend of her brother's and skilled surgeon at the base she is sent to, a tender and aching romance ignites between the two; yet will it survive amidst such brutality and horror?

Reading Somewhere in France was a little reminiscent of the recent BBC series The Crimson Field, which I enjoyed immensely, and which perhaps helped me better picture the setting that Lilly finds herself cast into. Furthermore, with so much attention currently on the Centenary, I thought this made an engaging read, and liked the exploration of women's roles and input during the war. Robson has evidently done her research, and whilst I was aware of women nursing at the Front, I hadn't previously known much about women acting as ambulance drivers in WW1, and as such found this informative. Furthermore, Robson does a commendable job of recreating life at the base hospital; the endless work of the surgeons and nurses, and the horrors of the wounds afflicting the men.

Naturally, this is a work of fiction, however, and she incorporates Lilly's own story into the world events around her well. Lilly as the central character is easy to like, with her determination and spirit; though I'm not sure that a lady of her upbringing could so easily have adjusted to such a different way of life as Lilly does, or that she would have been so bold. The romance is engaging; and realistic with regards to the fact that I could understand Robbie's inner struggles and reasoning for evading Lilly at times. Yes, at times the love story is a little saccharine and contrived; however, if you're a fan of period drama than you'll probably like it, and the book overall.

Compared to some of the other literature around on WW1, this may come across as a little light-weight, and certainly it doesn't go into graphic detail into the horrors of war or make for any profound read; however, overall I think it strikes a good balance between shedding some light on a remarkable period of history, and in particular the role women took, whilst at the same time making for an engaging romance and escapist read.
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Somewhere in France written by Jennifer Robson for me was a book which I know I will return too as it is one of the best books I have ever read!

As I first opened the book I was immediately drawn into the life of Lady Elizabeth lovingly known as Lily by all those who cared for her. As she fights against the invisible jail which her mother and father has built around her consisting of snobbery and class, Lily has growing up to do and she does this in the extreme as we follow her adventures through the words of this very talented author. Lily wants to see the world which she loves to read about and wants an education which was permitted for her brother but not for Lily. As according to Lily's parents who are titled and mix with the Royal family Lily was only there to look pretty and obey the husband her parents chose for her. As I was drawn into the life of Lily and the man she loves the question is will she draw on that strength to stand up against society and her parents! As we follow Lily as she not only stands up for what she knows is right, we follow her learning how to live without the help of servants attending to her every need which for me was a vital part of the book and really added to the actual story. As a reader I liked to read how life was like for Lily going from a titled Lady to just a normal working girl who had to work to survive, but this did not stop her caring for those around her.

Lily was a wonderful character who the author certainly knew how to develop for her readers as someone personally I could not stop caring for and wishing she would at last get the man she loved with so much passion she was willing to risk her life in war torn France just so she could be near him. For Lily the start of the First World War is going to give her a life she could only have imagined as along with friends she has met along the way the reader is taken to France and shown what life was truly like for those who not only fought in this war but those who worked alongside them saving their lives.

For me this book was not only a wonderful work of fiction but one which is a tribute for those men and women who served and died in the battlefields of France. As a love story it is a wonderful read and as a historical fiction filled with historical facts it was an education of how hard life was like for those men and women we owe so much too.

From page one I was captivated by this wonderfully written book and for that reason alone I am happy to recommend Somewhere in France written by Jennifer Robson as one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read and believe me I have read a lot of books based on this genre.
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on 14 August 2014
This book was utterly enthralling from the moment I picked it up to the moment I put it down. One of the best books I have read in a very long while. A wonderful romantic story set against a really interesting background of history which I learned so much more about. Thank you Jennifer Robson,
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on 19 October 2014
Great Historical Fiction ! My wife insisted that I read this book as we have been planning a trip to the WW1 Battlefields of France as part of the 100th anniversary of the war. It was a very inspiring book set with a background that was well researched and seemingly factual. The descriptions of the forward clearing station described the events of the war with hardships and tragedies of the time. It was vividly descriptive, entertaining, emotional, easy to read, and it ended well ! I was very pleased with the ending. It would have been interesting to have continued the story, but all the clues were there that everyone lived happily ever after. The author certainly put forth a great deal of effort in getting all lthe details right and it was apparent throughout the story. If you enjoyed this book, I would recommend A STAR FOR MRS BLAKE which is also very entertaining fiction.
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on 22 May 2014
This is the First book I have read by this author and I hope she will write more. A wonderful story, poignant, happy, sad and very thought provoking in this special year.
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on 21 April 2014
Although this had a fairly predictable ending it was a very good read. It was particularly good at dealing with class differences and the work of women during WW1.
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on 11 January 2014
A lovely story about a woman and her dreams! I usually love these books about WW1 and the story behind it but this book was simply amazing!
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on 10 April 2016
I don't usually read love stories but the setting of this book during World War 1 enticed me to buy it and I'm glad it did. I really enjoyed this book. I had already read the sequel before reading this one and like it as well. Americans know so little about the first world war. I appreciate books like these and the Maisie Dobbs series for teaching me the horrendous price paid by the young people who were caught up in that horror. The author's detailed research shines.
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on 29 October 2014
This story set during the First World War suffers from being told with a distinctly 21st. century voice. The writing lacks style though it is an easy read. It does not bring any new insights to the experience of women during that war. The hero is incredibly noble, the heroine incredibly modern and her family incredibly awful. This view was largely shared by my book club, only one of whom endorsed it.
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on 10 August 2014
Brilliant story I enjoyed it all hope the author writes more stories about the war years
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