Friday, May 12, 2017

No Man's Land - Book Review

From the cover :

"Adam Raine is a boy cursed by misfortune. His impoverished childhood in turn-of-the-century London comes to a sudden and tragic end when his mother is killed in a workers' protest march. His father, Daniel, is barely able to cope with the loss. But a job offer in the coal mining town of Scarsdale presents one last chance, so father and son head north. The relocation is hard on Adam: the local boys prove difficult to befriend, and he never quite fits in. Meanwhile tensions between the miners and their employer, Sir John Scarsdale, escalate, and finally explode with terrible consequences.
     In the aftermath, Adam's fate shifts once again, and he finds himself drawn into the opulent Scarsdale family home where he makes an enemy of Sir John's son, Brice, who subjects Adam to a succession of petty cruelties for daring to step above his station. However, Adam finds consolation in the company of Miriam, the local parson's beautiful daughter with whom he falls in love. When they become engaged and Adam wins a scholarship to Oxford, he starts to feel that his life is finally coming together—until the outbreak of war threatens to tear everything apart.
     From the slums of London to the riches of an Edwardian country house; from the hot, dark seams of a Yorkshire coal mine to the exposed terrors of the trenches in France; Adam's journey from boy to man is set against the backdrop of a society violently entering the modern world."

My thoughts :

I read No Man's Land by Simon Tolkien while I was in the middle of packing and cleaning for our move. Because of that it took me a month to read. This isn't an indication of how much I enjoyed it however. I was quite fascinated by the story of Adam Raine and felt compelled to keep reading each night even though I was exhausted.

Loosely based on his grandfather J.R.R. Tolkien's life, Simon weaves Adam's story into the history of the period. I was mesmerized as Simon's compelling words and story brought Adam's life, the history and the settings into sharp, rich detail before my eyes. It was a brutal time and Simon doesn't shy away from placing the reader right in the middle of the savageness and revolting images of trench battle in World War I or the grim realties of the miners' hazardous decent into the darkness of the mines. The novel and the writing are at their best in these moments.

The war changed people and realistically, the characters in No Man's Land are affected by the war. It was intriguing to watch as the love story between Adam and Miriam evolved from their times as youngsters to adults. They had suffered and grown and whose lives have been altered.

No Man's Land by Simon Tolkien is an invaluable look into the history and an engrossing Dickensian story of a young man's life.

No Man's Land by Simon Tolkien is published by Nan A. Talese and released on January 24, 2017.

**I received a complimentary copy. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**

No comments: