The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott. #Review #BlogTour #PhotographeroftheLost #WorldWarOne

Photographer of the Lost Cover

In the aftermath of war, everyone is searching for answers . . .
An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ Fanny Blake, bestselling author of A Summer Reunion

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she begins to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Review

The Photographer of the Lost is a beautifully written story set in the years following World War One, about the mindlessness of war and it’s victims. Those that died as a result of action in the trenches and the people that loved them.

It focuses on Harry who takes photographs of the graves of the dead to send to families, so that they can see where their loved ones lie. He is treading a path he once took as a young solider with his two brothers. He and sister-in-law Eddie are searching for answers, to a mystery, did Francis, brother and husband die in the conflict, or is he hiding from them both, unable to return to the life they lived before the war. It is both a love story and a homage to those whose lives caught up in the conflict.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to read some stunning books this year and I have had to constantly revaluate the statement, ‘I think I have found my book of the year’, well I have to again. For this novel is staggering in how it gives a voice to all that were caught up in the fury that Europe found itself enveloped in.

I have read a review that suggests The Photographer of the Lost is too long, that it is a series of sketches, that the writer over describes everything. I can’t say enough, or in sufficient words, how much I disagree with this.

What I loved about this book, was the focus on an aspect of war, that is often forgotten, the awful impact conflicts have on those left behind. Not just the physical injuries, or the mind crushing mourning, but how it robs all of the certainties that held their worlds together. That dad would come home at the end of the day, that the world was centred around their own hearth, because what they ended up with, were men traumatised often beyond healing, not knowing where their sons grave were, living in a void that haunted them. While for others the world moved forward.

With immense talent, but quiet passion, Caroline Scott gives these characters a voice, it is not about the big moments, for here is a novel about the nightmares that haunt those quiet minutes and hours that cut great swathes through lives. Its like she is writing almost under ones breath, wrapping the reader in Harry and Eddies journey, their search for answers and redemption.  Faintly in the background the war still holds them all in it’s grip, because for many it never let them go and for two damaged people the answers lie in a long search around France’s fate. I lost myself in their journey, as they came close to answers only to find they were mistaken, my heart lurching for them both.  These searches for answers often took years, for some families, the answers never came. The way the story in The Photographer of the Lost gives the narrative room to develop, conveys the vacuum many lives were lived in. It is powerful and moving stuff.  Eloquent and heart breaking.

It is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. Not all books need to be action packed, some if done well, can revel in the subtext below histories big ‘moments’ and The Photographer of the Lost does that with a quiet intensity. It asks the reader to take a step back, to remember and to listen to the voices of a forgotten moment in history. Caroline Scott with a historians eye and a writers artistry, gave me a book with emotional depth, a rallying cry to the power of the written word, of the story, to open up to us all, the voices of a lost generation.

You can purchase The Photographer of The Lost from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author

thumbnail_Caroline Scott author photo - credit Johnny Ring

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.

You can follow the author on Twitter

Photographer of the Lost 2 BT Poster

I would like to thank the author, the publisher and the blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Christmas At Ladywell By Nicola Slade #Review #BlogTour #Historical #CosyMystery

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A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past, old uncertainties are resolved when a woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century, an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

Review

When I sat down to read Christmas At Ladywell I was in need of an enjoyable, cosy historical mystery and that is exactly what the author gave me.

We have two storylines, one starting in the Tudor period and going on through history and the other in the present, where Freya is settling into her new home and doing up a small barn, in which a mystery guest will be seeking a romantic get away.

What I liked was that this story was very much about strong women, who pass a legend and an important artefact connected to Ladywell through history.  It joins them and Freya together, even if she is not aware of the rich tapestry she and the house are a part of.

I also enjoyed that in Christmas At Ladywell we are allowed to enjoy a cosy read in a small and intimate community. Everyone within the story is likeable and its nice to be able to indulge in that for me and it’s what made the few hours it took to reading enjoyable. I just loved Freya, her friends and how she embraces the character and richness of the house she is living in, it felt Christmassy and family oriented and I can’t remember when a book last made me feel so at ease.

The excitement came from when Freya learns of a discovery that connects the house and her to a past full of myths and superstition. We also get to see her start to make a connection to that when she can sense aroma’s from the past in the present, like the ghosts of these women are trying to reach out to her. It is light hearted in many ways, but also there is the suggestion of drama permeating its way into the present from the past, giving the story a riddle that needs to be solved.

I would have liked to see more of the story of why the past and present seemed to be set to collide, but I assume that will come in another instalment.

It was an enjoyable read.

You can purchase Christmas At Ladywell from Amazon

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT) by following this Link Link

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the author

Christmas at Ladywell - Author

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.
She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

The author can be followed on her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

Christmas at Ladywell

* I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.