Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Heroes' Welcome by Louisa Young

Hardback: 260 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Borough Press, Harper Collins Imprint. 2014
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentences: Riley Purefoy did not think very much about the war. He didn't have to. It was part of him. 
Review Quote: ‘Powerful, sometimes shocking, boldly conceived, it fixes on war’s lingering trauma to show how people adapt – or not – and is irradiated by anger and pity’ The Sunday Times
My Opinion:  A moving account of the after effects of the First World War.

The latest choice for a book club I belong to Louisa Young is an author I had not come across before, so I had no idea that 'The Heroes Welcome' is a sequel to 'My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You'  Had I perhaps known this beforehand I would have made the effort to read this first, as I do feel it would have given me more insight into the background of the main characters who all appeared in the first novel.  'The Heroes Welcome' does however stand alone as a moving account of the after effects of the First World War. 

The story is indeed a very depressing one as it follows the attempts of the main characters Nadine, Riley, Julia, Peter and Rose to come to terms with all that they have suffered. Starting on a happy note, it is the Spring of April 1919 and Nadine Waverney marries her long-time sweetheart Riley Purefoy. Riley is badly disfigured due to a wartime wound and feels that his relationship with Nadine has changed from one of passion and deep love to one of pity and dependency.  The character of Peter Locke, formerly Riley's commanding officer, now his friend is struggling to readjust to family life with his overwrought wife Julia and young son at the family home in the Kent countryside. The other main protagonist is Rose Locke, a cousin of Peter's who just happened to nurse Riley after his injury. All of them have been damaged by the Great War and this novel is an evocative account of their trials and tribulations. 

A moving account of the after effects of the First World War on a group of friends. Well written this novel will appeal to those that have read the prequel and want to find out what happened to everyone. Also anyone that is interested in the psychological effects of war on not only those that fought but those left behind as well.

Author Profile

Louisa was born in London, England. Her father was the politician and writer Wayland Young, Lord Kennet. Her mother is Elizabeth Young, Lady Kennet. She has several siblings, including the sculptor Emily YoungShe was educated at Hallfield Primary School, Paddington; St Paul's Girls' SchoolWestminster School; and Trinity College Cambridge. She was for many years a freelance journalist, working mostly for the Motorcycle Press, Marie Claire and The Guardian. She has travelled widely and published ten books. She lives in London and Italy with her daughter (born 1993). She is also the author of the best-selling Lionboy trilogy, with her daughter Isabel Adomakoh Young. She was engaged to the composer  Robert Lockhart when he died in January 2012.

If you are interested in more biographical detail Louisa has written a great profile on her Official Website

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Amazon Profile - Louisa Young     Author - Official Website    Wikipedia - Louisa Young 

 Twitter Profile    Louisa Young - Facebook Profile

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