Hello my family of readers, I have quite a busy week of books reviews ahead, lots of books releasing on March 1st. The first of which I have today for you, is that of a historical fiction, a collection of short stories from World War 1. Fall of Poppies has 9 stories by of course 9 authors, a few of my favorite authors in there. No surprise I loved their particular stories more than the others. This one is longer than my usual reviews.
Title: Fall of Poppies
Published: March 2016
Format reviewed: eBook
Rating: 4 stars
Top voices in historical fiction deliver an unforgettable collection of short stories set in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month…
November 11, 1918. After four long, dark years of fighting, the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed. For soldiers, loved ones, and survivors the years ahead stretch with new promise, even as their hearts are marked by all those who have been lost. As families come back together, lovers reunite, and strangers take solace in each other, everyone has a story to tell.
In this moving anthology, nine authors share stories of love, strength, and renewal as hope takes root in a fall of poppies.
In my review, I will summarize the title, characters and my thoughts on each of the stories, together. Most of the stories, part 1 takes place around World War 1 – during 1918 and a part 2 in later years, they all have a past and present narrative.
- The Daughter of Belgium by Marci Jefferson, is a mother-daughter story based in Brussels. The situation in the story, that of an unwed single girl losing everything in the war and being left with a war child, is one of the most painful and humiliating experience some of the young girls and women at the time went through. But as true resilient human nature, hope still blossoms no matter how grim the surroundings were. This story also shows that Love doesn’t or at least shouldn’t differentiate. It is pure love and hope in the heart of a mother for her 3 year old daughter, whose origin is something she wished were different. A lesson in hope and love.
- The Record set Right by Lauren Willig is a story of love lost, at its heart. While the origin is set in Carrington Cross, UK, an important character of the story moves to Kenya and the story ends with her being back in UK, where it all started. The Record is a story of cousins, the unsuccessful love story of Edward and Millie, two of them and how war throws some of them together and separates the lovers. The love between Edward and Millie is not very passionate but strong and deep like the silent waters. When she elopes with their other cousin Nicholas to Kenya, the love between them ends under the shadow of doubts, misunderstanding and desperation. Decades later, the record is set straight and made me think If only they had talked it out and not made life changing moves out of desperation. Maybe the times, almost a 100 years back were different and communication was a lesson yet to be learnt for stronger relationships. It is one of my favorite stories out of the 9, for its yearning, pride and love beneath all the shadows cast by the Great War and foolish human natures.
- All for the Love of You by Jennifer Robson, is a love story of Daisy Fields and Captain Mancuso. It’s a story of sweet first love and its struggles. 2 Americans in Paris brought together by War, separated by family and brought together by the family, too. The backdrop is that of hope, a second chance at life and the end of war, struggles and death. It is always a bit teary eye to see young first love take life in hearts of 2 people when the universe in anything but in favor of love and happiness. I liked the story for how the character were brought together, separation and finding each other again to start fresh in a new place leaving the gory war and its effects far ,far behind.
- After you’ve gone by Evangeline Holland, is a story of second chances at life and love. The story of Morven, a colored Scottish girl working as a part of a touring dance group along with Charles, Louis, Addie. Morven ends up getting married to Charles and Addie to Louis. Charles and Addie go off to war leaving the girls behind, alone. The war leaves Morven all alone in the world and just when she is about to give up she meets the handsome Sidney, a cousin of Charles, who is in Paris looking for Morven. Sidney is instructed to find, convince and bring her home to her in-laws. When you lose everything to War, just a glimmer of hope at family life can give you a fresh lease of life and you take it up hungrily against everything else. With her new family, safe and content back in America Morvene finds love again, in Sidney. I always enjoy reading second chance love stories and this one hits the right buttons and Cousin Sidney is a top guy and a bit dreamy book boyfriend material.
- Something worth landing for by Jessica Brockmole, is the story of French Victoire and American airman Wes brought together by circumstances created by the War. The couple is brought together by a spontaneous marriage decision by Wes and through letters begins a love story. War meant everything had urgency around it, lovers got married on spur of the moment decisions, going to war with an assurance in your heart that someone was waiting for you back home. Not all marriages were out of love though and that’s what this story is about.
- Hour of the bells by Heather Webb is a story filled with pain due to loss. Beatrix, who lives in a town along the French, German battlefront is married to Joseph and has a son Adrien. She loses Joseph in the war and Adrien goes off to fight in the same war. Beatrix is overwhelmed by all of it on top of being a German married to a non-German. It was only due to the Great War that being a German and non-German mattered to some people. People in whose hands was some snatched power and ammunition. Not all people react the same way to pain, some cope some cry, some harbor anger and bitterness. During this war, a German mother to a non-German son fighting in the war, seeks revenge for the death of her son. War taught a great many lessons to people; in this story the mother seeks revenge thinking her son was killed by enemies and ends up getting him back just before she embraces death and avenges his death. Goes to show that motherhood knows no religion and the lengths a mother will go to protect and care for her child.
- An American Airman in Paris by Beatriz Williams. War meant loyalty, doing something for the greater good and it also meant young, sometimes scared out of their minds teenagers having to be soldiers and seeing the ugly side of life a little too soon. This story is about what goes on in the mind of a young American airman in Paris in days after the end of war was announced.
- The Photograph by Kate Kerrigan, story of Clive and Eileen. This is my most favorite story. The year is 1918 and young English soldier Clive is posted to turbulent Dublin right in the middle of the Irish uprising in Dublin. Clive whose nature is so gentle and pleasant meets the fiery, vivacious Eileen. The start of their story is not marred by the turbulence around them but not for long and the opportunity for love to blossom is cruelly snatched by them. The end of Clive and Eileen made me sigh with sadness and mourn the loss of what might have been. Lovers being separated even before their love could take flight is not something I wish to happen to anyone. The emotions in this story just got to me.
- Hush by Hazel Gaynor, this story is what puts mothers on a pedestal second to God. A mother, no matter the physical distance, is always there protecting, helping and keeping her child alive and kicking sometimes literally. A beautiful story.
So my lovely reader, I love reading historical fiction and this collection of WW1 stories of love, loss, hope, second chances and determination is a delight to read. It releases March 1 and I suggest if you travel on trains/buses/flights frequently or are planning to spend a day on the beach or under the shadow of a great big tree with a book, this is the one to pick up and give your emotions a healthy exercise. Do let me know post reading how you found it and which one is your most favorite in this collection of beautiful stories.
I got a digital copy of this book from Harper International, I kind of pestered them for a copy after seeing the cover and blurb. You know how much I enjoy reading historical fiction, so you understand, right 🙂
Buy a copy here:
Reviewed by Bharti