Somewhere in France

I’ve read a few books over the past year about “The Great War”. (Funny how books with similar themes seem to erupt all at once sometimes.) Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson is the latest. And I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t like the family-driven trilogy that Phillip Roth wrote (which is mentioned as a further reading suggestion by the way), but it was every bit as enjoyable. Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford is stuck in the confines of aristocratic British society. She is expected to do what her mother says, not what she wants to do. Which is travel, have a career, and marry for love – not convenience. When war breaks out she defies her upbringing and family expectations and flees her family home, eventually becoming an ambulance driver in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp. She chooses to leave her previous life behind, and remain anonymous. Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly (as she has chosen to be called) is reunited with her brother Edward’s best friend, Robert Fraser, who is a surgeon at the hospital. Surprise, surprise, reuniting these two old friends has serious consequences for both. Each has reservations about working together and the hospital has strick policies about the staff fraternizing with each other. Can they make a go of it? This is Robson’s first book, and she has definitely done her homework. (Great news… I just read an interview with her where she said she’s working on book # 2 which is about Charlotte Brown, Lilly’s best friend and former governess from Somewhere in France.) The book has already climbed to The Globe & Mail top 10 list, which for a new writer I think is amazing, so obviously I’m not the only one to enjoy it. Give it a go.

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