Thursday 26 April 2018

Truly Are The Free by Jeffrey Walker

shortlisted for Book of the Month

Amazon UK £3.99 £11.99  
 Amazon US $5.40 $14.62 
 Amazon Ca $5.18 $18.89

Volume Two of the Sweet Wine of Youth series

Fictional Saga / military
France, Ireland, US

Boston native Ned Tobin, having previously survived the Somme, falls in love with Adèle Chéreaux. Soon after, Ned is called home and Adèle flees the final German advance of the war. Harlem lawyer Chester Dawkins joins a regiment and is anxious to fight the deep-seated racism that follows. His sister, Lena, is left behind to deal with crippling family debt. Chester and Ned wind up in the same regiment, each battling to overcome their prejudices and work toward a common purpose. All the while, Ned wonders if he will ever find Adèle again.”

What happens when a writer combines historical fact with historical fiction – and makes a very good job of it? The answer: an absorbing and interesting, beautifully written  read. Mr Walker has obviously done his research and incorporated his extensive knowledge into a novel that not only brought to life some very vivid characters, but had a narrative that kept me turning the pages. The opening poem was truly spellbinding. Do read it twice, or three times or...

This is the second part of a trilogy, and I regret not reading the first part first (None Of Us The Same ) Not because this instalment did not ‘stand-alone’ but because I realised that I had missed out on a very good novel. The stories of the characters - vignettes of various lives - bring home the profound effects of war, and its aftermath on ordinary people: those fighting in it, those separated by it and those surviving it, one way or another, and those who come home from it, not always in one piece or the same person.

This is an American story of what we Brits tend to think of as a British War (often forgetting, I think to our shame, that ‘WW’ stands for ‘World War’) which I found to be refreshingly different: a different view, a different perspective of familiar events such as the trenches of the Somme  and such. Things also not usually covered (especially in ’British’ versions of the war and its consequences) were so very well incorporated by the author, matters such as racism, sexuality and social prejudices.

The cast too, is enthralling and entertaining: not just soldiers slogging their way through the mud and keeping their heads down from the bombardment of German shells. We meet musicians, farmers, gangsters, all ordinary people caught up in the extraordinary circumstances of war.

I look forward to the third part with great enjoyment.
Highly Recommended 

© Helen Hollick

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the enthusiastic review, Helen. I hope "Truly Are the Free" is as much a pleasure to read as it was for me to write.


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