Friday, February 21, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Wake by Anna Hope

Wake: A NovelA brilliant debut for readers of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, in which three women must deal with the aftershocks of WWI and its impact on the men in their lives-a son, a brother and a lover. Their tragic connection is slowly revealed as the book unfolds.

Hettie, a dance instructress at the Palais, lives at home with her mother and her brother, mute and lost after his return from the war. One night, at work, she meets a wealthy, educated man and has reason to think he is as smitten with her as she is with him. Still 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, more and more estranged from her posh parents, 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 Helpless, her loving husband of 25 years has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out of work veterans. But when he shows signs of being seriously disturbed-she recognizes the symptoms of "shell shock"-and utters the name of her son she 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. - goodreads

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

I have to start out by saying I was going to rate this book 4 stars until the last two chapters, where all of a sudden I lost interest and just didn't care how it ended. I had no desire to see how the characters who all were interwoven in a way played out. I'm not sure what happened, it just fell flat. And the ending wasn't even bad or poorly written.

With that out of the way, Wake was a fairly decent story- like I said I enjoyed it until the end.  It shows how much society really didn't give any support to veterans. The notion of PTSD was unknown and really looked down upon. As in one scene, I believe it was Evelyn, stated "the war is over, just forget it and move on, let everyone move on" - paraphrasing obviously, but gets the point across. A lot of people did not know or understand the effect of war. Of that stress that comes back with them. And back then they really didn't have a support network.I mean, the soldiers stood in lines for hours to complain about their pensions (among other things) as shown in Evelyns job.

I enjoyed that this book wasn't about WWII, which most war and historical fiction books are.  And it featured 3 ladies. Evelyn- works at a Pensions exchange office, Ada who is trying to come to terms with the death of her son, and Hettie a dance instructor.  Their lives are connected through similar characters and common themes, the main one being the aftermath of a war.

I do recommend giving this book a read. It was a great debut novel and my lack of interest was probalby no fault to either. Just one of those weird things, I mean I did really like it until the end.

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