Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wake - Book Review

From the cover :

Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep. 2) Ritual for the dead. 3) Consequence or aftermath.

London, 1920. The city prepares to observe the two-year anniversary of Armistice Day with the burial of the unknown soldier. Many are still haunted by the war: Hettie, a dance instructress, lives at home with her mother and her brother, who is mute after his return from combat. One night Hettie meets a wealthy, educated man and finds herself smitten with him. But there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach. . . . Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange, through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, she looks for solace in her adored brother, who has not been the same since he returned from the front. . . . Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door, seemingly with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out-of-work veterans. But when he utters the name of her son, Ada is jolted to the core.

The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.

My thoughts :

Wake by Anna Hope is a quiet book. Unassuming. Unpretentious. Unforgettable.

I was surprised by how much I loved his book. Anna Hope's writing is lovely and evokes such powerful emotions from the characters whose lives of quiet desperation in the wake of World War I pricked my soul. Each individual deals with the terrors, loss and pain of the war in their own way yet by the end they each see a chance for healing and a brighter future.

Anna Hope allows the reader to feel. To see the futility of war. Her characters are neither flashy nor particularly brave. They are regular people who have lost loved ones or the dream of love. They care for men who returned damaged or not at all. But as the nation comes together to grieve and celebrate on the anniversary of the Armistice, there will be glimmers of hope and the chance for healing.

The ending is abrupt. Stopping suddenly in the middle of a scene. In the middle of a sentence. I had been warned previously so I wasn't shocked. Perhaps because it wasn't shocking to me, I actually appreciated the chance to imagine the futures of the characters. Their possibilities for love. For healing and hope. Yet my heart ached to know that many of them would live long enough to face the destruction and terror of another World War.

Wake by Anna Hope was a pleasant surprise for me. A novel that touched my heart and left me breathless with it's subtle beauty and message of peace.

Wake by Anna Hope was published by Random House in February 2014.

** I received a complimentary copy of Wake in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. No additional compensation was received.**

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