Love fiction from WWI? These two new releases are just the ticket for your TBR list.
I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
WWI Historical Novels to Help Us Remember
I recently listened to the audio recording of All the Light We Cannot See, and I remembered again how important it is to read about the events during WWI and WWII. Why? We need to never forget the events that lead up to and embroil countries in worldwide conflict. If we don’t study history, it repeats itself. All too often, people focus on military history and forget the social aspects of history–the ways the military actions affected real people and their ordinary lives.
Novelists allow us to understand the horrors of war in ways history writers never will. But without understanding the horror, we fail to learn from it.
Yours is the Night
By Amanda Dykes, Bethany House Publishers, August 3, 2021, 384 pages.
Matthew Petticrew grew up in the stables of Maplehurst, and his love for horses runs deep. His love for his sister runs even deeper. He’s raised Celia from birth, with the help of a few other employees of Maplehurst Stables. They lived together in the barn on sufferance from the owner since their mother passed away.
Matthew finds solace in his work, his sister, and reading the tales of Jasper Truett, hero of the Spanish-American War and Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. But when the owner takes a wife, things start changing. Matthew and Celia are the first to go. He to work at the stables at Harvard University, and Celia to work at a hospital in New York City. What seems like the worst circumstance turned into the greatest gift for Matthew and Celia.
Mireilles grows up isolated from everyone in a small cottage in the forests of Argonne, France. Her father and grandfather keep her company and tell her tales of days gone by. Her unusual upbringing includes learning multiple languages and reading fairy tales of beautiful balls with lost princesses and handsome princes.
But when the Germans invade her country, her father leaves her to fight with his countrymen, leaving Mira and her elderly grandfather to fend for themselves.
Two people with backgrounds so different can only be brought together by war. When Matthew hears an angelic voice in the forest from his hideout in the trenches, he knows life will never be the same.
Why I Loved This Book
This haunting story of WWI has a compelling cast of characters readers won’t forget. From the trenches in the Argonne Forest to the mystery of a lost French noble, Dykes weaves a story readers won’t want to put down. Above all, readers come away with a deep sense of the power of decisions—especially how they haunt us when others’ decisions jeopardize our very lives and futures.
If you’re a fan of All the Light We Cannot See, you’ll love this book.I couldn't put #YoursistheNight by @AJDykes down! A must-read for fans of #WWI fiction. @bethany_house #amreading #inspy Click To Tweet
The Ice Swan
By J’Nell Ciesielski, Thomas Nelson, July 2021, 400 pages.
As the Great War stretches on, Scottish nobleman and surgeon Wynn MacCallan wants nothing more than to save lives. Even if it means going outside the stodgy rules of older surgeons. A skilled cardiac doctor, Wynn has no time for anything other than operating on the waves of brave soldiers who flood the hospital on a daily basis. Until he sees a beautiful and mysterious woman on his way home one night. A woman who looks like she needs his help but refuses to take it.
Princess Svetlana Dalsky has escaped the Bolshevik Revolution in Petrograd with little more than her sister, her mother, and some family jewels sewn into their clothing. After months of hardship, they arrive in Paris, hoping for refuge. Parisians have little to offer them after four long years of war, though. Svetlana can only find a small square of semi-private space in the dank basement of a Russian church.
Svetlana knows her life as a pampered princess has ended, but her mother’s constant complaints and demands make the transition almost unbearable. Her mother demands luxury and acclaim, while Svetlana desires survival and secrecy. She fears the Bolsheviks may hunt them down and drag them back to Russia for execution. Everything she holds dear has disappeared her father, her brother, her friend Sergey, and her dreams of dancing for the Ballet Russe.
When a kind surgeon removes the glass from her leg, Svetlana doesn’t know what to make of her persistent offers to help her. She trusts no one. As her mother plunges the family into debt, Svetlana must figure out how to save them from ruin. Wynn offers her only escape, a marriage in name only that will protect her from her enemies and pay off her mother’s debts.
Wynn hopes one day Svetlana will come to love him, until then, he’s willing to wait, to woo, and to win her over. But unexpected events conspire to keep them apart and Wynn’s cutting-edge procedures bring him under the censure of the medical board.
Why I Loved This Book
Atmospheric and sweeping, this book carries readers through the horrors of the Bolshevik Revolution, the underbelly of Russian crime syndicates, and a country at war. The unlikely match between the second son of a Scottish laird and a Russian Princess makes readers think about preconceived ideas of class in society, the duty of the wealthy towards the poor, and the importance of honesty in marriage.
The well-rounded characters face relatable roadblocks to happiness. Ciesielski provides comic relief with two of the minor characters By the end of the story readers will close the book with reluctance. It took several chapters to catch on to the idiosyncrasies of the Russian characters’ speech patterns. Fans of Roseanna M. White will enjoy this book.Another beautiful #WWI novel from @JnellCiesielski and @ThomasNelson. Don't miss out! #amreading #bookreview Click To Tweet