The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the idyllic fields of Sussex to the trenches in France, Helen Simonson's poignant and gently humorous novel focuses on the people in a small town whose lives are upended by the Great War.
It's billed somewhat as a Downtown Abbey-esque story (Julian Fellowes meets E.M. Forster old chap), but it was more focused on middle- and working-class concerns. The gentry still think it's all about them, but what else is new? This story is a real gem!
"For the first time, as her tea grew cold in the cup and her porridge gelled in its bowl, she saw what it meant to be of limited income. It was a noble concept for the church sermon or the pages of an improving novel, but a chilling prospect on a sunny Sussex morning."
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