I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
1914. Vivian, a young, impassioned debutante is hurried into a pedestrian marriage to cover a scandal. War breaks out on her wedding day — domestically and across Europe. Quick to escape the disappointment of matrimony, her traditionalist husband immediately enlists and Vivian has no alternative than to take up the management and running of his estate — after all, everyone is required to do their bit. Even pretty, inadequately-educated young wives.
Howard, a brilliant young playwright rushes to the front to see for himself the best and the worst of humanity; he cannot imagine what the horror might be. In March 1916, when conscription becomes law, it is no longer enough for him to report on the War, it’s a legal requirement that he joins the ranks. Howard refuses, becoming one of the most notorious conscientious objectors of the time. Disarmingly handsome, famous, articulate and informed, he’s a threat to the government. Narrowly escaping a death sentence by agreeing to take essential work on Vivian’s farm, it’s only then Howard understands what is worth fighting for. – Goodreads Description
If You go away is a lovely, heart warming story about not only a war time affair but a commentary on the societal values of the early 1900’s. One of the two main protagonists, Vivian was such an interesting character and her experiences as a middle class woman of that time was such a compelling thing to read about, the author discusses sexuality and relationships in an addictive way.
The writing style of If You Go Away made it easy to empathise with Vivian and the development of her character from privileged, naïve young girl waiting for marriage to a strong yet vulnerable woman was something that I loved. It was hard to put this book down and when I did it stayed on my mind and the lead up to the Vivian/Howard introduction kept me reading. I liked how the story wasn’t only romance focused and that the characterisation of both Vivian and Howard took the lead.
I really enjoyed the historical aspect of this book and the inclusion of conscientious objectors and the reaction of the public to Howard’s refusal to fight made it really realistic. Stories focused around the World Wars are bound to be tear jerkers for me and this book definitely delivered an emotional punch. It’s just a genuine, lovely book. I’d definitely recommend If You Go Away to anybody whose interested and I really want to read more of Adele Parks’ work, especially her other historical fiction Spare Brides. Hopefully it’ll be just as amazing as this book! 🙂