Thursday, October 06, 2011
Well guess again. Riley, in a fit of pique, joins the army and is quickly shunted off to the trenches of World War I--we all know what happened there. And Young doesn’t spare us any details. In the turn of a page the book transforms from a pleasing love story into one of the most brutal war stories I’ve ever read. We watch Riley change from a green boy to a ravaged bitter man who endures horrific battles and eventually winds up with a gruesome injury. Young doesn’t spare Nadine either. To spite her parents, Nadine joins the VAD and suffers her own form of hell as she is sent to the front as a battlefield nurse.
Both Nadine and Riley (and several other secondary characters) are suffering from serious cases of PTSD by the end of the book, and I thought I might be too. I haven’t cried this much while reading a book in a long time. It’s horribly sad and beautifully written and a really great read, if you have the stomach for it. I loved it.
(Book 29, 2011)