The Summer Before The War- Helen Simonson

#book-review #book-reviewer

The Summer Before the War sounded amazing. I love historical fiction and the protagonist is a teacher, so I was expecting to love this novel. Unfortunately, I found it a very slow and tedious read, not living up to my expectations.

The novel is detailed in aspects that seem irrelevant to the plot and characters. Rather the scene is set and the story lacks depth. I wanted to love the characters, however, I felt that there were too many of them to gain a connection with any of them. The protagonist, Beatrice, arrives in the town and is employed as a Teacher, yet there is only one scene three-quarters of the way through the book in which she starts teaching. The first three parts of the novel include a lot of societal gossip, which I did not find enjoyable.

I am glad I decided to read the entire novel though, as the last 100 pages were worth the read. Prior to this, however, the novel itself lacked depth in ways that would have drawn me in further, including the characterisation. In saying that, the connection between Hugh and Beatrice was quite sweet.

As an avid reader of historical fiction, I did appreciate the authors’ knowledge and research into this time period. Although this novel was not for me, I hope that others enjoy it.


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