Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Review: Dance the Moon Down

Dance the Moon Down
R. L. Bartram

'In that moment, as she watched him go in the last days of that golden summer, she felt her life change. After this, nothing would ever be quite the same again.'

This is a novel that has all my favourite components: suffragettes, the First World War, war poets and women (are you bored of me yet?).

The novel follows the war-time experiences of Victoria, a product of a Victorian/Edwardian upbringing, who meets and falls in love with Gerald, a young poet, at university. Despite her mother's misgivings, Victoria and Gerald begin quite the clandestine romance that culminates in their marriage shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. Gerald almost immediately signs up for the army but after a few short months has gone missing in France. The rest of the novel documents Victoria's struggle to find out what happened to Gerald in a search which leads her to face countless challenges and, ultimately, destitution.

I really like how this novel starts at the end, with Victoria as an elderly woman observing a young couple who themselves are examining a war memorial on which Gerald Avery is named. Those sorts of beginnings give you enough of a storyline to really absorb you from the start. Although the writing has the occasional tendency to slip into cliche, the historical accuracy and the author's clear passion for the subject made it a very interesting read. I was pleased to read a war novel that decided to focus on life on the home front rather than the front line.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy to review.

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