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  • Wake
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4.5 out of 5 stars
218
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 8 November 2016
I found this book engrossing and illuminating; the varied characters and their stories cover so many elements of society and their English sensibilities, whether this is true to the thinking of the time I don't know but it resonates for me with the thinking of the 50's. I have not read books about this war although through film and tv I am aware of the horrors, I found Hope's descriptions very moving and appreciated her focus on the emotional impact which is implicit in her story telling. I will be giving this book to friends as it works on so many levels and is my best recommendation.
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on 29 January 2015
After finishing Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, a ponderous, self- indulgent and overlong 'novel', it has been a treat for me to discover Anna Hope' s Wake.
Five days during 'the haunted peace after the Great War.' November 1920 : the slow process of bringing back the Unknown Soldier from a French battlefield to his final resting place and the lives of three women, in their different ways, angry, bitter and lost and all still deeply affected by the war.
It is a beautifully written, compelling and very moving novel with so many evocative passages like this one:
She misses him. Fraser. Here in the shrunken hours of the night. She misses him still so much. Who is there to share her thoughts with? They
Wither inside her. She cannot even write them to him as she used to, can't take a cup of tea back to bed and sit with a candle in the blackout
and think of him, trying to imagine where he is, what he sees. She cannot imagine where he is, because he is nowhere, he is nothing. All of
The many tiny things that he was - the way he turned his head towards her, the slow breaking of his smile, the laughter in him, the roll of his
voice; the way that he eased her, eased her - these are all gone. These are all dead.

If I gave Wake 4 and not 5 stars, it is because of the abrupt ending that left me slightly dissatisfied. I too, as a reader, like Ada, Hettie and Evelyn need and want closure.
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on 18 August 2016
So much has been written about this book - so many superlatives have been heaped on it & I agree with them all. It's a lovely book & kept me glued to the page over several days. The story of The Unknown Warrior is beautifully described, as are the three women whose stories are linked to this central event. Moving & graceful with not a word wasted. I loved it.
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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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on 2 June 2017
So powerful - draws you in from the moment you start. Fabulous book
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on 17 March 2015
A moving story about three women trying to cope with the after effects of the first world world, grieving for those they have lost or adjusting to those who have come back from war changed men.
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on 1 May 2017
Brilliant!
Thoughtful and written from three viewpoints without being confusing. Very sensitive and moving. Would definitely recommend to other people.
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on 12 June 2017
I am loving this book!
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on 7 April 2014
I liked this gentle book. It was touching in places and a gentle read about the effects of WW1 on the women left behind. The way the book describes the recovery of the "unknown soldier" was particularly sad. Not a choice anyone should have.
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on 18 January 2014
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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