“Daring debutante Vivian Foster has London society at her feet – all she needs is a proposal to complete her triumphant season. A moment’s indiscretion causes her world to crumble, just as the country around her erupts into a devastating war. Everything seems bleak. Until she meets Howard”
I adored Spare Brides, Adele Parks’ last novel and If You Go Away* is an equal joy, with rich, well-developed characters and a satistfying narrative arc. I have to confess to not immediately warming to Vivian but as the novel goes on and she matures and we see how she copes with a life that’s very different from that she hoped for, I liked her more. The book explores the nature of duty, whether it is fair to demand that people risk their lives for a cause that isn’t theirs, and the way that women’s entire lives were predicated upon their ability to make a ‘good’ marriage. And it’s really, heart-breakingly romantic in places. Perfect winter’s evening reading and I suspect there are a few Glenogle & Bell subscribers who will be receiving this in their parcels.
As with Spare Brides, Adele’s research is both thorough and subtle – she conveys the period accurately and completely without any sections that shout “I spent hours in the British Library finding out about this and by George I’m going to make sure you know about it!” That’s of particular interest to me as my novel is set in 1920 and it’s so hard not to digress into descriptions that aren’t doing anything to move the story along.