Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Jennifer Robson's debut, Somewhere in France.
With war looming, Lilly Ashford longs to do her part. The daughter of an earl, she's been raised to accomplish nothing more than land a worthy husband. But that's not the life Lilly wants. She wanted to travel and to learn. Unfortunately Lilly's own hopes have been hampered by her mother's restrictions and her family's expectations. And so she takes matters into her own hands, first learning to drive and then breaking with her family to set off on her own. With the urging of her brother and his best friend, Robbie, Lilly applies for work with the newly appointed WAAC - Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Lilly is quickly drafted to the ambulance drivers' pool and sent to the front where she shuttles injured men to the local trauma center. Her job has her working alongside Robbie and their friendship quickly becomes something more. But Robbie is terrified of having Lilly so close to danger.
I quite enjoyed Jennifer Robson's debut. It was a bit lighter than I'd expected, which I know some readers have not particularly liked about the book. With two leading characters both sitting on the front lines of a brutal war, there's very little of the actual horrors of said war described in the book. Robson does discuss them but doesn't really delve into them very deeply. It's actually not something that bothered me as a reader but I do like to see what others are saying about books and it's something I've noticed popping up. In reading these comments, though, it struck me that there is likely a much larger readership that would enjoy Robson's book all the better for this. More graphic and tragic descriptions of such an event would otherwise turn off the readers I think are prone to shy away from such a thing whereas Robson's approach, which is basically a love story set around the war and the social changes that it brought about, likely makes it a more appealing historical novel for a broader audience.
If you're looking for more on the brutalities and horrors of WWI I'd suggest reading Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front but if you enjoyed Phillip Rock's recently rereleased Passing Bells trilogy, as I did, I definitely recommend Robson. The author has obviously gone to great lengths to ensure historical accuracy and it is apparent in the reading.
Women's roles in WWI are particularly interesting and not something I've read much on before now. The WAAC is most prevalent here but the author does include other avenues through which women helped the war effort as well.
According to her website, Robson is working on a follow up to Somewhere in France. I'll be very much looking forward to this. It looks as though Charlotte will be front and center as well, which makes me even more excited about the book. Charlotte is a bit of a side character in Somewhere in France, Lilly's former tutor and a friend who also supports her in joining the war effort. It's through Charlotte that we get a glimpse of the other roles women played in the efforts back at home.
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on the author, head over to her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
Thanks to the publisher, I'm able to offer up a copy of Somewhere in France to one lucky US winner (no PO boxes). To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before January 20.
a Rafflecopter giveaway