My rating: 5 of 5 stars
We that Are Left is set around World War 1. It is the story of Elin, wife of Major Hugo Helstone, their home, Hiram Hall in Cornwall and the story of Elin’s friends and family.
It begins in August 1914 a time of great anticipation and anxiety as rumours of war spread. Previously Hugo fought in the Boar war, far away but still with it’s own nightmares which he has never shared with Elin. The war in Europe is much closer and everyone begins to consider the impact it may have on their lives.
When a bi-plane piloted by Lady Margaret Northolme lands unexpectedly near Hiram Hall, Elin and her cousin Alice meet “Mouse” as she affectionately known, someone who will come to play a major part in their future lives.
War against Prussia is declared and a monumental tide of men rush to sign up to fight thinking they are off on a huge adventure, while England is left to the women. Alice finds work in a hospital organising supplies, Elin makes plans to grow more foodstuffs from the gardens to feed the local community and Mouse heads off to France with a truck full of supplies.
No one is prepared for the horrors and losses that the war will bring. When the causalities start pouring in from France and Belgium, the madness of war is brought home, yet there is no end to the deaths and pain, while others show unending strength to carry on. News of Mousse’s capture as a spy has Elin and Jack rushing to France on a daring rescue mission and Elin sees and experiences first hand the devastation caused.
This is such a moving story, one full of emotion and the author captures the atmosphere and adds details that make you feel as if you are there too with Elin. I loved the parts about Anglesey just as much as the being in the vehicles that Elin drove or helping make meals from scraps and the endless cups of tea. It really was a delight to read this book and I didn’t want it to end at all.
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Juliet will be joining us as our guest author tomorrow.