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Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson

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Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson

Postby Rowan » Mon September 7th, 2015, 1:45 pm

Review by blueemerald, being put in its own thread...

From the book cover: "Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lilly from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front. Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend"...

"Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War" by Jennifer Robson. Historical romance. This book features the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and ambulance driving on the Western Front. I was happy to find another HF book that highlights the various roles to which women volunteered and/or were forced by circumstance to undertake during WWI. Especially the aristocratic women whose primary role was that of socialite, often lacking formal education and experience with any kind of work/trade. I have read dozens and dozens of WWI HF over the years. IMO "Somewhere in France" lacked richness and depth. Historical details were peppered throughout the book, however they seemed simple and sparing. I confess I prefer the books richer in details. The main romance storyline was sweet and predictable. The (trade) paperback includes a "P.S." section which includes a conversation with the author's father (WWI and WWII historian), Glossary, narrative on "Women Ambulance Drivers in the Great War", a Reading Group Guide and "Further Reading Suggestions". "Somewhere in France" was an easy read and I did enjoy it. However, I wanted to enjoy it more.


BTW-Jennifer Robson wrote a sequel of sorts "After the War Is Over". It features secondary characters from "Somewhere in France". I liked "Somewhere in France" well enough to read this sequel, although will tailor my expectations a bit.


PS: While on the subject, the following 4 books feature women's participation (nursing +) in WWI. I highly recommend each:
"Fatal Decision-Edith Cavell WWI Nurse" by Terri Arthur. HF novel based on Edith Cavell's story "about the profession of nursing, the brutality of war, and the risks of commitment". (Edith Cavell was a WWI British nurse who is celebrated for saving the lives of Allied soldiers from all sides, at great personal rick. She was arrested by the Germans, court-martialed, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.)
"Not So Quiet...Stepdaughters of War" by Helen Zenna Smith (aka Evadne Price). HF (semi-auto-biographical) novel featuring "one of England's Splendid (aristocratic) Daughters" doing her bit on the Western Front line as a volunteer ambulance driver. The book features a lengthy Afterword providing further insight into the female experience of ambulance driver and opinions about the horror/futility of war.
"We That Were Young" by Irene Rathbone. HF novel told from the perspective of a cultured former suffragist and friends, who work at YMCA rest camp just behind the front lines in France, nursing the severely wounded at London hospital, and work at a munitions factory.
"Testament of Youth" by Vera Brittain. First installment of Brittain's memoir, covering 1900-1925. A classic re: description of the impact of WWI on the lives of British middle-class women and civilian population.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson

Postby Misfit » Tue September 8th, 2015, 3:44 pm

I have this languishing on my Kindle somewhere. You might want to look at Over There by Thomas Fleming. Not wholly focused on the female role, but you will get a good look at it if my memory hasn't failed. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006109 ... HWK55XCGG2
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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blueemerald
Reader
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson

Postby blueemerald » Tue September 8th, 2015, 8:42 pm

Misfit wrote:I have this languishing on my Kindle somewhere. You might want to look at Over There by Thomas Fleming. Not wholly focused on the female role, but you will get a good look at it if my memory hasn't failed. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006109 ... HWK55XCGG2

Thanks for the title Misfit. I read it many years ago and recall enjoying it. WW1 being a focused reading (historical fiction) interest of mine for many years, it is infrequent that I get a title unknown to me. But one never knows when a new reading find might pop up. And it is fun being reminded of previously read titles long forgotten!

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson

Postby Misfit » Tue September 8th, 2015, 11:21 pm

blueemerald wrote:
Misfit wrote:I have this languishing on my Kindle somewhere. You might want to look at Over There by Thomas Fleming. Not wholly focused on the female role, but you will get a good look at it if my memory hasn't failed. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006109 ... HWK55XCGG2

Thanks for the title Misfit. I read it many years ago and recall enjoying it. WW1 being a focused reading (historical fiction) interest of mine for many years, it is infrequent that I get a title unknown to me. But one never knows when a new reading find might pop up. And it is fun being reminded of previously read titles long forgotten!


All wars are hard, but what the soldiers in the trenches went through...

Different war, but another book that gives a female perspective on the home front in England in WWII. Fields of Battle. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/045111 ... pd_ybh_a_2

Don't let the romancey MMPB cover fool you, yes there's a romance, but it's much more than that.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be


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