I was in the mood for reading something about World War I in March. Especially after Amazon recommended this pretty looking book. I saved it for a rainy day and that day came a couple of days ago. Well, I ought to have known better than judge a book by its covers. Problem was, it got raving reviews as being so very realistic, so very get the true feeling for what it was like. Partly I can agree, now when I have read the book. The last half of the book, could possibly describe what World War I was like. But the first half of the book is just filthy supermarket sex. The sort of book that can not or will not be sold in a bookshop but is condemned to the shelves by the magazines, at the supermarket.
I am greatly disgusted to read that the author is a historian, educated at Cambridge , and has forgot the first rule of being historically correct. You do not put your 21st glasses on and look through them, to describe the past, in this case 1914. As an example, when veterans watched “Band of Brothers”, they informed the people who had filmed it, that “we did not use the F-word back then!”. If it was not used in 1944, it sure was not used in 1914. And this woman author, uses it ALL the time in the book. That is insulting. They had their own swearwords and no doubt, she could have researched to find out what they used, to make the book more authentic for the time portrayed.
In these days, the books on everybody’s tongues, are the “fifty shades of…” So, in the 21st Century, some authors think that you must have sex in your books to sell. That does not mean that EVERYONE in Britain and in the trenches, thought no other thoughts than “sex, sex, sex”. But the author makes it sound like this was the one and only thing on people’s minds. Half the book is just full of sexual thoughts, sexual acts, masturbation and homosexual acts, so she can be 21st Century politically correct.
According to her, the men in the trenches rather had sex with each other than with women. Right! Try the other one. Already on page 29, there is a homosexual act described and that made me want to throw the book in the bin. Totally unnecessary. It made the lead character, go and volunteer for service, to prove he was not a nancy. A word I doubt existed back then either. 4 pages later he masturbates in Hyde Park. I don’t know which is more disgusting, reading about the acts or reading about everyone’s thoughts?! In this book, a woman can’t walk by a man, without him fancying her, getting you know what. And a woman can not think of anything but doing it. Poor Miss Young is not getting anything I guess? Or she has a teenage son at home with too many hormones, so she thinks that young men were just the same back in 1914. Even if she has read a book from 1937 called “Sexual Behaviour during the World War”, written by a doctor, this is just insane. These were Victorians! prostitutes were a common thing in London, yes, and new King yes, but there is a limit to what a 1937 doctor knew about people’s thoughts. I haven’t read that book, but what does it matter?
The book was described as being a realistic portrait of life during the Great War. It did nothing for me. The scenes from the trenches basically just talk of men that want to have sex. The women at home, trying to do their bit, wants to have sex. Everything in the first half of the book is overshadowed by sex, so it was a struggle staying with the stupid book. I paid over four pounds in shipping for this book, otherwise I would have thrown it in the bin. I don’t even want to donate such a book to a charity shop! Getting in to the second half of the book, the masturbating hero, gets wounded. The description of the surgeries and the thoughts of despair in the patients, how they were treated out on the street and so forth, THAT can be this book’s only strong point. But I still can’t get the bad taste out of my mouth, that I have just finished a bad Harlequin Romance set in World War I. The story was completely pointless. A dirty Cinderella story. Not worth the penny I paid for the book itself. There must be something better out there, that describes the time period more truthfully. Sorry Miss Young, but your are not one bit believable.
Storyline? Almost forgot! Riley Purefoy is the little boy, that runs around in Hyde Park, and runs in to Nadine Waveney, way above his station in life. Her family invites him in because he is cute, and Nadine’s uncle, a painter, lets him work for him in his studio, helping out with various things. Both Nadine and Riley love to paint and of course fall in love. When war breaks out in 1914, they are 18 and Nadine’s mother will not have such a son-in-law, so she forbids Nadine to have more painting lessons. Riley goes to model for a student, gets drunk, and the student thinks Riley is homosexual so… Riley is afraid of having become a “nancy”, so he goes to the recruiting office. He goes off to France and a year later, is promoted to an officer, since Nadine’s uncle has paid for it. He goes back to London and has sex with Nadine for three days, and then she will look at no other man. In the trenches Riley has got to know the CO whose name is Peter Locke. He is married to a pretty girl, who can’t do any war work since her job is to stay pretty for him, in her opinion. Julia shops, thinks about having sex with Peter, and waits for his return. When he is home on leave, he rapes her and she gets pregnant. But after giving birth, her mother takes the baby and doesn’t return it to her daughter for two years, since her daughter is such a wet noodle. Peter becomes a drug addict and alcoholic. He is the most frequent guest at the brothels in Flanders. But Riley stays faithful to Nadine. When he gets his lower jaw shot off, he ends up in a hospital not far from Julia’s house. His VAD nurse, Rose, is Peter’s cousin. When Nadine arrives to see Riley at the hospital for reconstructing, she, a VAD nurse herself, doesn’t get it, that he is seriously wounded but think he has just a slight wound, even though everybody else she sees there, look like monsters. Not very bright right?! Riley tells Rose to tell Nadine that he has a girlfriend in Paris, that he is returning to, that their relationship is over and could never have been anyway. So Nadine goes to France to die. She doesn’t but gives 200% so she doesn’t have to think about Riley and the French girl. When the war is over, Peter refuses to go home to Julia but hangs out in London, drinking and going to clubs. Julia goes through beauty treatments that are more or less dangerous. Christmas 1918, Riley goes with his damaged face, to London, to fetch Peter. Rose is with Julia at the family estate, where Julia’s son has finally returned as well. And suddenly Nadine shows up from France and asks if she can stay. So she runs in to Riley, when he arrives with the drunk Peter. And Julia who is upstairs with stolen beauty treatments, doesn’t know her husband the drunk has arrived, so she burns her face off with acid! That’s how this stupid book ends. As pathetic as it can get.