Sunday, February 27, 2022

Review: Love in a Time of War

Title: Love in a Time of War

Author: Adrienne Chinn

Publisher: 25thFebruary 2022 by HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter

Pages: 490 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: historical fiction

My Rating: 4 cups


Three sisters

The Great War

The end of innocence…

In 1913, in a quiet corner of London, the three Fry sisters are coming of age, dreaming of all the possibilities the bright future offers. But when war erupts their innocence is shattered and a new era of uncertainty begins.

Cecelia loves Max but his soldier’s uniform is German, not British, and suddenly the one man she loves is the one man she can’t have.

Jessie enlists in the army as a nurse and finally finds the adventure she’s craved when she’s sent to Gallipoli and Egypt, but it comes with an unimaginable cost.

Etta elopes to Capri with her Italian love, Carlo, but though her growing bump is real, her marriage certificate is a lie.

As the three sisters embark on journeys they never could have imagined, their mother Christina worries about the harsh new realities they face, and what their exposure to the wider world means for the secrets she’s been keeping…

My Thoughts

Love In A Time Of War is the first in an expected trilogy which follows the lives of the three Fry sisters. Book one begins just prior to the commencement of World War I when women’s lives were on the brink of incredible change. Adrienne does a fabulous job of portraying, through these three very different sisters, the spirit of all women who went on to forge new lives for themselves during and after this time of war. 

‘I’m recommending you for immediate advancement into the surgical specialty. I suspect we may need trained surgical nurses sooner rather than later. The world is not a peaceful place, Fry. I believe war is inevitable.’

Interestingly, it is also a dual time narrative with flashbacks to the sisters mother, Christina, at the same age but in Italy where she grew up. This is probably an aspect I found questionable as with there being three sisters, it added to the number of characters, bringing a lot of dialogue and plot lines to follow. So it does jump around a bit, skipping back to the mother’s timeline which at times upsets the flow of the story. It also makes for a very long book that took some time to establish itself but worked out well towards the end, despite not being a standalone and therefore a future instalment is required. 

‘The problem is the past is still alive inside her. She carries it with her every second of every minute of every hour. She will never be free of her past. It stares her in the face every day.’

This book follows these very different sisters through a time of great change - women were now able to leave home alone, travel overseas without a chaperone or take on roles and positions traditionally held by men. Adrienne has strong focuses on the British suffragettes and the role of nursing in the war years. There is, of course, romantic relationships - one Italian and one German - which makes for next level problems given the world situation of the time. 

I enjoyed being in different locales - England, Egypt, Italy - and how family secrets were to become exposed. So if this time period appeals to you and you enjoy epic family dramas and are prepared to invest in a trilogy, then Love in a Time of War should definitely be on your reading list. 

‘No matter where we are in this world, we’ll always be together, Jessie. You, me and Etta. The three Fry Sisters.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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