Although Jennifer Robson's After the War is Over is a follow-up to Somewhere in France, it stands alone as a marvelous book. It's stylistically beautiful with well-drawn characters and a realistic sense of place and time. The richness of the details gives the reader a feeling of immediacy, even though it takes place in England, just after the Great War.
The main character is Charlotte, in her early thirties, a socially-aware former war nurse, who now works for an organization that gives aid to people in need, many of them former soldiers and their families. A "modern woman," Oxford educated, and suffragist, she is a warm, highly intelligent, sensitive soul who is always ready to offer solace to anyone in need.
The juxtaposition of classes is most enjoyably portrayed. Charlotte's best friend, Lilly (her former pupil) and all of Lilly's family, with the exception of her doctor husband, are from the upper class, with almost obscene wealth. Some of the funniest, albeit anger-producing, scenes in the book, take place when Charlotte is spoken to by Lilly's mother. The working classes are also represented.
The depiction of life in that time and place is handled so sympathetically by the author that as I read, I was drawn more and more deeply into the lives of the characters. They became real people to me. I knew them; I cared for them; I rooted for their eventual happiness, which does, indeed, come to pass.
Read an excerpt from this book.
Jennifer Robson has a doctorate from Oxford and now lives in Canada. this is her second book. Visit her website.
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