Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wake by Anna Hope

2 Star

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

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 Helpless, her loving husband of 25 years has withdrawn from her.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.

Sabrina-Kate - 2 Star

As much as I often want to love, or even like, historical fiction, it is something that I struggle with on a regular basis. I often, as with the case of this book, like the premise of the book and think that it is something that I would enjoy. Now Wake was obviously well researched as historical details were quite accurate. There was never a doubt in my mind that these things could have transpired.

There was something about this story that didn't resonate with me. At all. Wake is about three women and ultimately their connection through the three men in their lives post WWI yet I was unable to identify or empathize with any of them. Perhaps it was because I found the writing to be somewhat detached and not as emotional as one would expect some of the events to make them be.

The story also seemed to go back and forth without any clear indication from past and present which, to be very frank, drove me very crazy. I had to re-read a lot of sections a few times or at least skim through them to make sure what was going on. That to me is a waste of time and should be unnecessary when reading a book.

The historical details, as I previously mentioned, are incredible in their own right however and any history buff would probably be enthused by their merit alone.

Thank you to Random House for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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