A couple of months ago, I was very lucky to be sent a surprise advance copy of Adele Parks’ new book- and was super delighted to see that it was signed by Adele herself.
The book spans entirety of the First World War and tells the story of Vivian, a socialite and debutante whose life is suddenly changed on the weight of a misguided decision. She finds herself married off to a member of the nouveau riche and stuck, frustrated and lonely, in a rural village for the duration of war. At the same time, we follow the story of Howard, a playwright with a glittering career in the West End. When war breaks out, he travels as a journalist to the front and sees horrors that will profoundly affect his life. The two meet and a relationship develops.
I loved the main characters and felt that their story was entirely believable- Vivian especially reminded me of those Edwardian girls you read about, like the Mitfords. Reckless and stifled by Victorian parents, trying to carve their own lives in restricted circumstances. There was definitely a hint of Diana Mitford there (before she fell in with Oswald Mosley, obviously.)
With Howard, I ran an emotional gamut and his character sort of reminded me of a combination of Wilfred Owen and George Orwell- young, angry and a determined pacifist; intellectual and proud in difficult circumstances. I would say of the pair, he was the most consistently likeable. Oh, and their relationship is quite… saucy at times. Don’t say I didn’t warn you (nudge, wink.)
I’ve not read any of Adele Parks’ work before, but I have Spare Brides upstairs, which has been languishing for months. One of the great things about reviewing books is that I discover new-to-me authors who I enjoy- and Adele Parks is definitely one of those authors.
*Sent for review