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East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England's brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha's husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won't come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns: She has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.
When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking - and attractive - than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.
But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha's reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress and the old ways will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sara on 04-27-16
Not Sure About This Book
I loved the fresh and engaging writing from Simonson's first novel Major Pettigrew and had really high hopes for this book. I have finished several books recently that took a great deal of time before they really took off. In the end those titles were worth the wait. This book has so many five star reviews and encouragements to give it time that I am trying to stick with it--but am really flagging.
My problem lies in the very modern thinking, voices and language used by these characters. I don't think it reflects the way people were or actually spoke in 1914. I have commented about this problem in historic fiction writing before. Others have mentioned it here in reviews of this book as well. The reason I feel this way is that my grandparents were born in the late 1880's, were British and my grandfather fought in WWI. I knew my grandparents really well as they live to be 99 and 100 years old. The way they thought, talked and the vocabulary they used had absolutely nothing in common with the writing of this book. I find this disturbing and it brings much of the story into question for me.
In addition, I am not a fan of the narration so far. I am not willing to give up on the book yet because, as I said at the start of this review, I really loved Major Pettigrew. I am going to put the book aside for a while and then start over in a bit. I will resubmit this review if I have a change of heart after my second attempt at the book. Just be aware--if you are looking for a story with a high degree of historic accuracy I might think again when pondering this title. As I said in the headline--I am not sure about this book.
56 of 64 people found this review helpful
By RueRue on 06-02-16
I'm not sure why, but this book just didn't keep me engaged, until the last 2-3 hours ( and, for a 15 hour listen, that's a long struggle to keep listening). The author's first book, "Major Pettigrews Last Stand" was charming, the characters warm and sympathetic. Maybe that's what I found lacking here; there is really no one who captures the heart and interest of the reader. The only character who came close was Snout, and *spoiler* he comes to a tragic end. I can't falter the narration, it was quite good. This just didn't live up to the high standard of "Major Pettigrew".
4 of 4 people found this review helpful