Everyone assures Laura that Edwin Anstey died a hero's death in France in 1918. But Laura suspects there is something about her father unrevealed. When World War II breaks out, Laura learns what war means, and she finds love--or thinks she has. But always haunting her is the image of her father--handsome (she believes), brave (she hopes), but always, mysteriously, absent. A superbly plotted, romantic saga reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier.
Praises to Kathryn Haig for bringing readers Apple Blossom Time, a WW 2 emotional tale of a young woman seeking to find the father she never knew. Edwin Anstey's name does not feature on the WW 1 monument erected in the village for the many soldiers who lost their life in the Flanders fields and Laura cannot rest until she knows the reason. Her mother, stepfather and grandmother are extremely tight lipped on the subject.
When WW 2 erupts Laura finds herself volunteering like many and is shipped to Egypt as a code breaker along with her close girlfriends.
Spanning the length of the second world war conflict, the bittersweet novel gives readers a definite insight on the staggering cost to British forces as they fight to stop Rommel's advance in North Africa. Many of those young soldiers gave their life for King and Country in the faraway desert whilst thousands of miles away British soil was mercilessly bombarded leaving countless homeless.
Kathryn Haig's protagonists easily win readers' hearts as they struggle throughout the conflict and come home to civilian life, often suffering of one form or another of PTSD.
Reading about the myriad of little details regarding everyday life from rationing to victory gardens, sometimes on extensive manor grounds, brought a stark reality to the novel and its romantic overtone is done with good taste.
The war has come to an end for Laura, answers must be sought at all cost and when she finds a BEF officer's uniform along with a packet of letters in her grandmother's attic, her quest truly begins.
We are reminded here that we often cannot anticipate what we are going to uncover and consequences must be met, sometimes at a cost, when searching for the truth.
For Laura however, war has already exacted a higher cost than she ever imagined and nothing will stop her from discovering the secret behind her father's disappearance.
At over 400 pages, this book is to be enjoyed without rushing but merits a resounding 5 stars for dragging the suspense until the last few pages!
I'll be checking more of Kathryn Haig's work in the near future!
About the Author:
Kathryn Haig was born in Scotland. She has been an officer in the Women's Royal Army Corps, a civil servant and a computer programmer, and now lives with her husband, daughter and an assortment of animals in the New Forest.
Her two most recent novels, Apple Blossom Time and A Time to Dance, are published by Corgi.
Note: This was a library loan and all opinions are mine only.