on October 12th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
‘One to Watch’ Good Housekeeping
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.
Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.
This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
The Poppy Field is a stand-alone book by Deborah Carr.
It is the story of two women Alice, whose story happens during WW1 and Gemma whose story takes place in 2018.
Gemma is a trauma nurse taking time out from her job to get over the loss of her fiance. Her father suggests she go to France to oversee the renovations and eventual sale of the farm that his recently deceased cousin owned. She jumps at the chance. During her time there not only does she meet the handsome handyman, Tom, who she contracts to do all the renovation work needed, but they also find an old tin full of letters addressed to a man called Ed.
Alice is the woman who wrote the letters. Through them, Gemma reads all about Alice’s experiences as a volunteer nurse during the war. One of those experiences was nursing Ed back to health and consequently falling for him. Of course, nurse/patient relationships are frowned upon so the letters told of how they managed to see each other.
Reading about Alice’s trials and tribulations during the war helped Gemma to realise that her own life could be so much worse. Between the letters and her budding relationship with Tom, Gemma starts to re-evaluate her life and what she wants from it.
The story is set in France at the farm and small town close to it, and the place sounds absolutely idyllic. The Poppy Field is the name of the book, and the poppy field exists a short distance from the farmhouse. Some beautiful moments happen there both for Alice and for Gemma.
I enjoyed how the stories of the two women intermingled, and although I could understand that Gemma wanted to savour reading Alice’s letters, I wanted to yell at her to get a move on so I could find out how Alice and Ed’s relationship faired.
It was fascinating reading about life as a nurse during WW1 and about what both they and the soldiers endured. It was pretty emotional reading. That was one of the reasons I loved how Alice and Gemma’s stories alternated, there was some light amongst the darkness. The romance aspect of the story was sweet, believable, and a joy to read.
The book wasn’t perfect, there was a continuity issue once or twice, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.