My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Smallbrook is a historical novel set in a small fictional village in Britain during World War 1. It’s May 1916 and Nathan Holt is returning to the village of Dalton Combe, a place he once ran away from to join the army. He’s searching for some peace of mind after the horrific trauma of the trenches and he’s nursing a leg wound.
He used to live with his Aunt and Uncle but they’ve both died since he left. He finds a village with no young or old men, few healthy horses left to do any work, yet farms need help with the harvest and everyday chores.
First Nathan finds work when welsh carter John Evans falls ill, but then he moves on to help Jenny Tiley from Smallbrook farm, with the hay crop and stays on to help with the farm. A sweet romance follows, Jenny is a widow, her husband died in the war. The pair face the village gossips as they work well together, but all this stops when Jenny hears that her husband is actually in a hospital in Hereford and not dead at all.
She travels to Hereford to find Edward Tiley with severe injuries and not the man he once was. He insists on returning home but he is now an invalid and will need much care and nursing. He’s bitter and angry and jealousy of Nathan begins upon first sighting.
The book ends with a couple of twists showing that the repercussions of war reach far and wide with their ripple effect.
I found the book interesting but it had a very slow start, it didn’t pick up for me until we started to see some emotions between Jenny and Nathan, it was then that I began to engage with the book, but I drifted apart again after the drama with Edward.
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