Tuesday, January 6, 2015

After the War is Over - Book Review

From the cover :

The International bestselling author of Somewhere in France returns with her sweeping second novel—a tale of class, love, and freedom—in which a young woman must find her place in a world forever changed.
After four years as a military nurse, Charlotte Brown is ready to leave behind the devastation of the Great War. The daughter of a vicar, she has always been determined to dedicate her life to helping others. Moving to busy Liverpool, she throws herself into her work with those most in need, only tearing herself away for the lively dinners she enjoys with the women at her boarding house.
Just as Charlotte begins to settle into her new circumstances, two messages arrive that will change her life. One, from a radical young newspaper editor, offers her a chance to speak out for those who cannot. The other pulls her back to her past, and to a man she has tried, and failed, to forget.
Edward Neville-Ashford, her former employer and the brother of Charlotte’s dearest friend, is now the new Earl of Cumberland—and a shadow of the man he once was. Yet under his battle wounds and haunted eyes Charlotte sees glimpses of the charming boy who long ago claimed her foolish heart. She wants to help him, but dare she risk her future for a man who can never be hers?
As Britain seethes with unrest and post-war euphoria flattens into bitter disappointment, Charlotte must confront long-held insecurities to find her true voice . . . and the courage to decide if the life she has created is the one she truly wants.

My thoughts :

I did not read Robson's first novel Somewhere in France. While After the War is Over could be seen as a sequel to the first novel, it can stand alone as it focuses more on different characters and gives plenty of the back story. Robson's style reminded me quite a bit of Jacqueline Winspear's early Maisie Dobbs novels, just lacking the mystery. 

After the War is Over starts out strong and I read the first 100 pages in an evening. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the history of the period following World War I. But then the novel starts to get bogged down with back story and slow down significantly. Charlotte Brown is just too perfect and a little dull. Her relationships with Lord Ashford and the newspaper editor show promise and I kept reading hoping for a glimmer of chemistry. The ending wraps up so conveniently and nicely that all the previous drama and conflict suddenly seem overblown.

After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson does a good job of showing the pain and suffering and struggle to recover in Great Britain following World War I. I'm always moved by the stories of people from this era and my heart always breaks knowing that these people will eventually face another horrendous war. The nice character and feel-good ending leave After the War is Over feeling like a good comfort read, though it might just put you to sleep.

After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson is published by William Morrow and releases on January 6, 2015.

**I received a complimentary copy of After the War is Over. No additional compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**

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