WAKE: A Novel by Anna Hope

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WAKE: A Novel by Anna Hope

Post  WRB on Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:22 pm

The stories of three women in London are cleverly woven together in this historical fiction novel. The common denominator was that their lives were all changed by World War I, but they all have a story of their own. The seemingly unrelated threads eventually all come together as the story unfolds over a period of five days and the characters struggle to cope with the difficult realities of grief and the aftermaths of World War I.

Hettie is a dance instructress at Palais and gives half her weekly wages to her mother and her useless brother, Fred. She has her own personal heartaches to get over.

Evelyn, my favorite character, is from a wealthy family, but works in a pension office. She has a brother, Edward, to whom she was very close at one time, but now they barely speak. The war has hardly seemed to scar Edward and he has a limitless ability to dispense his charm.

Ada has been married to Jack for 25 years. They have a son who is lost at war, but Ada is convinced he is alive. One day a young man appears on her doorstep selling notions and mentions her son's name, but quickly disappears. Ada also thinks she sees her son on the street.

There were some interesting historical details brought to light as an unknown warrior is brought to London for burial. This part of the story is well done and really draws you in.

Unfortunately the three stories are slow to pick up momentum and as a result the storyline fell a bit flat for me, not being as compelling as I had hoped. In many ways the story was touching and poignant, but the stories of the three women felt unnatural - a bit forced. Also, the characters failed to capture my heart and I didn't feel a satisfying conclusion to the storyline - just being lukewarm. But, on a positive note - the author cleverly evoked the flavor of this time in history.

An interesting storyline, but not one I'd enthusiastically recommend. 3 stars.

I was given a copy of this book from LibraryThings Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.  Expected release date is February 11, 2014.

WRB

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