The Summer Before the War
by Helen Simonson
2016 / 498 pages (ARC – Kindle)
rating: 9.25 / historical fiction
(With thanks to Random House via Netgalley for the advance reader copy!)
Good read – quite enjoyable but a warning – although it is never explicit, this book does not pull punches. For a good chunk of the novel I wanted called it a delightful satire. Then some real life stuff happens – difficult situations, hard choices and tragedies.
I first encountered Helen Simonson with her first novel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, a really delicious fiction I recommended to both my mom and my daughter and probably other folks online, so I managed to get copy of Simonson’s second novel in advance reader copy (ARC – from Netgalley) form. I’ve never done ARC before – we’ll see how it goes, but at least I’ve got something I’m looking forward to as a starter.
The setting is the small town of Rye in East Sussex England, during the summer 1914. These are the years of rising tensions about the wars in the Balkans, suffragettes in the streets, labor uprisings,the clash between 19th century Victorian ways and new more modern ideas as well as the normal, petty local jealousies. It’s Imperial England just past its prime and full of ignorance, arrogance, entrenched tradition, class issues and small minds. >>>>MORE (no spoilers)>>>>