Sunday, 27 September 2020

Fall of Poppies

Finished September 20
Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

This is an anthology, with stories from a number of female historical fiction writers. All of the stories have some element of love in them, and are set either during WWI or after, but looking back to it in some way. A few of my favourite writers are included, which drew me to the book.
The Daughter of Belgium, by Marci Jefferson is set in Belgium during the final days of the war. Amelie is a young Belgian woman whose home, shop and family had been attacked during the first year of the war, and her parents died shortly after. She was taken in by Edith Cavell and worked in the clinic helping out wherever needed and learning nursing skills. Now Cavell is dead and Amelie’s fear is growing for her future as the clinic is evacuated. She is staying to try to protect the property, along with her young daughter, Hope. There is also one patient unable to be moved, that she is tending to.
The Record Set Right, by Lauren Willig, is set more than sixty years after the war, when Camilla (Millie), a woman who married and emigrated with her husband to Kenya and built a life there, returns to England at the request of her brother-in-law. They are the last two of their generation and there is history between them that needs to be dealt with.
All For the Love of You by Jennifer Robson is set in Paris in 1925, where Daisy finds out at her father’s death that he lied to someone about her back in 1918, that has changed her life. Daisy is an American woman, in Paris with her physician father, who had worked as a secretary, handholder, and artist at a charitable organization that created masks for men who faces were damaged by the war to provide them a way to move about in their lives with less attention.
After You’ve Gone by Evangeline Holland is set in Paris in the last days of the war.  A Scottish black woman entertainer, must now find a way to move on with her life after the loss of her American husband Charles in the war, leaving her in poverty and without hope. As she walks to the station, she meets a group of Americans and becomes a tour guide for the city where she has so many memories.
Something Worth Landing For by Jessica Brockmole takes place in Remorantin, France, in the last days of the war, when a young American pilot encounters a young French woman in a hospital and offers to be her husband to protect her honour. She writes him letters as he goes off on what will be his last mission, and he has wire interchanges with his mother and thoughts of the young woman he is now tied to.
Hour of the Bells by Heather Webb takes place in a couple of small towns on either side of the French German border, in the last days of the war. A German woman, who married a French man and moved to his home is now mourning the loss of both him and their only son, and worries about her status without her family. She hates Germany for taking her men from her and devises a plan for revenge.
An American Airman in Paris by Beatriz Williams in set in Paris in the spring of 1920 where a young man, a pilot during the war, taking refuge finally in the arms of a woman suffering her own losses, is faced with a past he has tried to forget, and offered a way forward.
The Photograph by Kate Kerrigan, takes place in Ireland in 2016, where Bridie, the granddaughter of a member of the 1916 Uprising, in preparation for a commemorative ceremony learns something about her great-aunt Eileen that influences her attitude in the present
Lastly, Hush by Hazel Gaynor, set in November 1918, where Annie, a midwife, works to help a premature baby thrive after his birth, while worrying about her only surviving son Will, somewhere in France, and Will encounters his last battlefield engagement. 

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