In Love and War
"Three women, once enemies. Their secrets will unite them.July, 1919. The First World War is over. The war-torn area of Flanders near Ypres is no longer home to trenches or troops, but groups of tourists. Controversial battlefield tourism now drives bus-loads of people to witness first-hand where loved ones fell and died. At the Hotel de la Paix in the small village of Poperinghe, three women have come to the battlefields to find a trace of men they have loved and lost. Ruby is just 21, a shy Englishwoman looking for the grave of her husband. Alice is only a little older but brimming with confidence; she has travelled all the way from America, convinced her brother is in fact still alive and still in France. Then there’s Martha and her son Otto, who are not all they seem to be…The three women may have very different backgrounds, but they are united in their search for reconciliation: to reconcile themselves to what the war took from them, but also to what life might still promise for the future…"

In Love and War Details

TitleIn Love and War
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 25th, 2018
PublisherPan
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, War, Fiction

In Love and War Review

  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    This book isn't out until next year when it will be 100 years since the end of WW1. It looks at the controversy that existed following the war when people wanted to go to see where their loved ones had died, and even search for that last missing link in the hope they had somehow survived. The so called 'battle field tourism' which grew up at the time was seen to be bad taste but essential for those who wanted to feel closer to their soldier relatives. It explores the views of an English girl, an This book isn't out until next year when it will be 100 years since the end of WW1. It looks at the controversy that existed following the war when people wanted to go to see where their loved ones had died, and even search for that last missing link in the hope they had somehow survived. The so called 'battle field tourism' which grew up at the time was seen to be bad taste but essential for those who wanted to feel closer to their soldier relatives. It explores the views of an English girl, an American women and someone from Germany.... Very heart- wrenching and it's got that personal factor too as it's dedicated to a member of the author's family who was in the war and who has never been found. Personal and very poignant
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  • Linda Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Three women from very different countries and backgrounds find they are not so very different after all.In Love and War is a lovely, lovely book. Having read it, I find myself very moved by the dedication at the front which didn’t have a great deal of meaning to begin with. I feel Liz Trenow’s story is a fitting tribute to Lt. Geoffrey Foveaux Trenow and all men of all nationalities who lost their lives.There’s no rampaging, heart-thumping plot here, but In Love and War is still a hugely compell Three women from very different countries and backgrounds find they are not so very different after all.In Love and War is a lovely, lovely book. Having read it, I find myself very moved by the dedication at the front which didn’t have a great deal of meaning to begin with. I feel Liz Trenow’s story is a fitting tribute to Lt. Geoffrey Foveaux Trenow and all men of all nationalities who lost their lives.There’s no rampaging, heart-thumping plot here, but In Love and War is still a hugely compelling reading with a wonderful insight into the lives of those who lost loved ones during World War 1. I found that the gentle plot crept up on me and provided an emotional read that took me by surprise so that I felt very moved and not a little tearful afterwards.Liz Trenow has a real eye for detail so that the settings are described in a way that makes them come to life. Having visited the WW1 battlefields and cemeteries around Ypres I found myself transported back there so vividly, but with a more substantial realism. I loved the way real places and historical events were so skilfully woven into a gorgeous narrative and the smatterings of German and French in the direct speech added to the authenticity.The characters of Ruby, Alice and Martha are distinct and convincing, but even better is the way Liz Trenow helps the reader understand that there are no winners or losers in conflict, that none of us is perfect and that a little kindness goes a very long way in helping understanding and reconciliation. Freddie’s description in particular of the bond between fighting men is outstanding.I think In Love and War is a book to take your time over. It has depth that rewards reflection and thought on the part of the reader. What impressed me most is that Liz Trenow teaches us that it is not physical memorials, or the places where our loved ones are buried that honour them, but rather the memories we cherish that make them live on. I really recommend In Love and War as a moving, evocative, historical read.https://lindasbookbag.com/2018/01/17/...
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  • Emma Crowley
    January 1, 1970
    In Love and War is the beautifully written new novel from historical fiction author Liz Trenow. This a genre which I would say is my favourite and I can't get enough of it. This story is a detailed observation of how families and individuals attempt to pick up the pieces left behind by the ravages of war in this case the First World War. It is a stunning observation of three women's attempts to overcome their grief, to find answers to the innumerable questions running through their minds. In a b In Love and War is the beautifully written new novel from historical fiction author Liz Trenow. This a genre which I would say is my favourite and I can't get enough of it. This story is a detailed observation of how families and individuals attempt to pick up the pieces left behind by the ravages of war in this case the First World War. It is a stunning observation of three women's attempts to overcome their grief, to find answers to the innumerable questions running through their minds. In a bid to find peace and resolution a journey is undertaken by all three not just in their homeland, no they want answers and to achieve they travel back to the scene of where their loved ones fought but in doing so they paid the ultimate price. Each women is from a vastly different background and different circumstances have brought them to Belgium. As we travel with them in their attempt to seek closure the reader as do the characters experience a myriad of emotions as the full horrors of what their men and loved ones endured becomes clear. This is no easy path to uncover the truth or the burial sites and the author does not shy away from the brutal realities for all involved at the time. If she had done so the book would have lacked depth and substance and not been the remarkable, emotive story it turned out to be.In Love and War is entirely fictional but was inspired by real people, places and events. Tubby Clayton, the army Chaplin /priest who helps Ruby was a real person and it was lovely to see the light shone upon a person who may have ultimately been eroded from history despite the valuable role they played. The themes of the book are very much ones of bereavement and how to cope but also reconciliation, forgiveness and acceptance play a huge part. This book is not full of drama as there had been enough dramatics and horror with the unspeakable events of the war with so many lives lost. Instead this is a subtle exploration of trying to find understanding in order for peace to enter into one's heart. The pace of the story is slow and languid. It doesn't need twists and turns on every page to keep the reader hooked. Sometimes the quality of the words speak for themselves rather than actions. There is no necessity for this as the characters and the trip they are on through such astute, careful writing does the work instead of surprises thrown in just for the sake of it. Yes towards the end there are a few shocks, some pleasant, some not but they didn't interrupt the flow of the overall story. They were placed at essential points and helped the reader clarify things or assumptions they may have had were confirmed or denied.Initially, I wondered was having three women as the main characters just that bit too much too focus on but I was quickly proven wrong. As there is many sides to a story, so there is many sides to a war and all three provided valid viewpoints and allowed a well rounded opinion of things to come through. It never felt like the author herself was coming down on one side or the author. She stood back and took in all aspects and presented a very well balanced viewpoint. It was different to see a German woman featured-Martha and her son Otto. Normally, I read stories focusing on either of the wars and it is all about the English side so it was refreshing and an eye opener for me. It makes the reader realise the opposing side, despite the terror they inflicted had families waiting at home for them too and at the end of the day they suffered just as much as everyone else did. Martha is fulfilling the final promise of her husband who passed away from the Spanish flu. She wishes to reunite medals with her son Heinrich. This is a bitter sweet journey filled with pain and heartache as they are not reuniting with their loved one instead searching for the place of his burial. One of hundreds of thousands of men who lost their lives. Being German and travelling to Belgium would certainly have not been recommended following the conclusion of war. Hatred, anger, suspicion and revenge abound but a mother and wife's love is strong and she wishes to see the request through until she finds that resting place.Ruby Barton is travelling from England, leaving on a boat for the first time in her life. Belgium is her destination and she wishes the reasons for her journey were not there. That she would be journeying from England with a happier goal in mind. She is on a tour organised by Thomas Cook of the Belgian battlefields in Flanders, where families of those who fought can see where everything happened and try and find the grave of their relation amongst the hundreds of thousands. In this case it is Ruby's husband, Bertie. She doesn't want to go on the trip. She is grieving, she wants peace, to live a quiet ordered life honouring his memory and never to allow heartache to reach her door again. She wants to remain shut off from any further mentions of love. The reader can see there is something else also eating away at her and until she can satisfy this no resolution can be found. She feels duty bound to visit the grave sites as instructed by her parents in law. Ruby was very much like a fish out of water and I felt she was brave going on her own not knowing what she would encounter. A country torn apart by war with villages decimated and people struggling to live amongst ruins and the lack of food and facilities. How macabre it must have been for the Belgians to have foreigners as such still encroaching on their land and country even after the war had concluded. On the other hand these tours must have brought solace to families to see where their loved ones had fallen and been buried. It must have been an incredibly difficult journey for anyone who undertook it 100 years ago. Hopefully with the tours people would come away with a greater appreciation of what war really means and a determination never to allow it to happen again. If only they knew what the future would hold.The third woman couldn't have been more different from Ruby and Martha, Alice Palmer comes from a wealthy American background and is in Europe to search for her brother Sam. He was last declared missing and the family want affirmative answers. Was he captured by the Germans? Was he a deserter? Or was his ultimate fate -death? Alice too was brave like Ruby but I think I preferred Ruby's character. Alice seemed to be over the top and at times it felt romance played a more important factor than finding the answers did. The women only had a week to uncover what they were looking for and Alice seemed to be more enamoured with her old flame Daniel Martens. She conveniently forgot she had a fiancée waiting back at home for her. Yet she was the force that pushed Ruby on, to abandon the organised tour and go to Hops to meet the locals and ask the questions that needed to be spoken out loud. The details of the village of Hops and the surrounding areas were incredible. The author clearly undertook a lot of research and I build up a vivid, realistic picture in my mind that really enhanced my enjoyment and understanding of the story. It made me appreciate how much the people who were very near to the front-lines of the battle fields endured and how they suffered long after the final shot was fired. So much historical detail was brought to life through the three women's stories and I felt every emotion they were experiencing. I knew there could not have been a happy outcome for all, that would have gone against the authenticity and the character of the book. But still I was ever hopeful regarding certain characters.In Love and War was an excellent book. It's wrong to say I enjoyed or loved it given the subject matter. Maybe those are not the best words to use but that is how I felt about this story. The characters and setting leap off the page to meet you and transport you back 100 years to a world very different in some ways to the one we inhabit now yet in others war is still very much a part of our lives today. Liz Trenow has done an exceptional job of bringing to life characters you feel such empathy and compassion for. I would never have given any thought for what happened after the war as the world kept turning and other events stepped in to take its place, make the news and have people talking. It was fitting in the centenary year of the conclusion of World War One that this was published and Liz Trenow should be proud of the story she has written. It's beautifully crafted and one which gives lots of food for thought and discussion. One not to be missed.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    This was a simply beautiful “quiet” read, focusing on three fascinating women who visit the graveyards of Flanders shortly after the end of the First World War, searching for their missing loved ones. As well as searching for her husband’s grave, Ruby is looking for forgiveness for a deed she bitterly regrets. Alice’s brother joined up under the Canadian flag and probably under a false name, so her search is never going to be easy – but meeting up with a man from her past life adds an interestin This was a simply beautiful “quiet” read, focusing on three fascinating women who visit the graveyards of Flanders shortly after the end of the First World War, searching for their missing loved ones. As well as searching for her husband’s grave, Ruby is looking for forgiveness for a deed she bitterly regrets. Alice’s brother joined up under the Canadian flag and probably under a false name, so her search is never going to be easy – but meeting up with a man from her past life adds an interesting twist. And then there is Martha, searching for her older son, accompanied by her younger son Otto… but without the support, and not in the same graveyards.The story itself is enthralling, as these three very different women strive for the outcomes they hope for. They are perfectly drawn, each of them affected and changed by their experience, strengths and weaknesses exposed in unexpected ways. The backdrop is vividly described – the lush farmlands giving way to devastation and waste as they near Hoppestadt, the trenches still visible and bringing a horrifying reality to the theatre of war, bodies still being recovered nearby, the vast graveyards shocking with their evidence of wasted lives, the visual reminders of the way deserters were dealt with. The insight into the lives of those whose towns and homes were impacted is also superbly handled – with the feelings about the Germany that caused the devastation barely concealed beneath their brave attempts to rebuild and start again.The emotional impact of this book is enormous – I cried so many times, and ached at the injustice and unfairness of it all. But it’s also immensely uplifting, with its concentration on the goodness and kindness of individuals – and the moving message that people are perhaps better remembered for their actions than by visiting their memorials. This lovely book will remain in my memory for a very long time to come…
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  • Deanne Wildsmith
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to obtain this book through the Goodreads Giveaways and it is the first book by Liz Trenow that I have read. Although I have read quite a few books based on the First World War, this is the first book I have read concerning the tourist tours immediately after the end of the War. I was drawn into the stories of Ruby, Alice and Martha and was keen to see if they found what they were looking for. However, I did feel that the story was probably a bit unrealistic and too coincident I was lucky enough to obtain this book through the Goodreads Giveaways and it is the first book by Liz Trenow that I have read. Although I have read quite a few books based on the First World War, this is the first book I have read concerning the tourist tours immediately after the end of the War. I was drawn into the stories of Ruby, Alice and Martha and was keen to see if they found what they were looking for. However, I did feel that the story was probably a bit unrealistic and too coincidental but I will still be recommending it to family and friends.
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  • Eileen Hall
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this galley as I was intrigued by the synopsis.It began well enough charting the lives of three very different women who arrive in Belgium looking for loved ones who may have fallen during the 1914 - 1918 war.After an initial interest, I sort of got bored with them.The characters didn't ring true and were a pastiche of their supposed backgrounds.One a young, fish out of water, shy English girl who lost her husband, a brash American girl and finally a mysterious German woman and son.I I requested this galley as I was intrigued by the synopsis.It began well enough charting the lives of three very different women who arrive in Belgium looking for loved ones who may have fallen during the 1914 - 1918 war.After an initial interest, I sort of got bored with them.The characters didn't ring true and were a pastiche of their supposed backgrounds.One a young, fish out of water, shy English girl who lost her husband, a brash American girl and finally a mysterious German woman and son.In real life were there characters as I described them?I may try and read again some time.I was given a digital copy by the publisher Pan Macmillan via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks Pan Macmillan and netgalley for this ARC.Liz Trenow's novels are the kind of books you want to curl up with on a cold night and just read to your heart's content. 'This one deals with the hard facts of war, friendship, love, and family.
  • Jo Barton
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow..
  • Lisa of Hopewell
    January 1, 1970
    Found this book via this review. http://www.myreadingcorner.co.uk/2018...
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    A novel dealing with the aftermath of the First World War and the early days of battlefield tourism, ‘In Love and War’ follows three very different women with the same ideal: travel to the battlefields in Belgium to deal with love and loss, and perhaps lay some ghosts to rest in the process.British Ruby’s husband Bertie was killed at Passchendaele, but his body was never found, American Alice is searching for clues about her missing brother Sam, who signed up for the Canadian Army and was never A novel dealing with the aftermath of the First World War and the early days of battlefield tourism, ‘In Love and War’ follows three very different women with the same ideal: travel to the battlefields in Belgium to deal with love and loss, and perhaps lay some ghosts to rest in the process.British Ruby’s husband Bertie was killed at Passchendaele, but his body was never found, American Alice is searching for clues about her missing brother Sam, who signed up for the Canadian Army and was never heard from again after a single letter from Belgium, and German Martha is wanting to visit her son’s final resting place.In an ordinary world, these women would never meet, but, in 1919, Ruby and Alice find themselves drawn together in their quest for closure.The locations are well described, and you can imagine the horror of Ruby, Alice and their fellow ‘pilgrims’ as they see the destruction of war first hand, and the scale of loss as they visit the grounds of what would eventually become Tyne Cot Cemetery.It’s a brave idea for a book, taking three different stories and weaving them into the same plot, but it works. Alice, Ruby and Martha are three likeable, very different women whose lives were changed for ever by the events of the war, as they seek answers to questions and mysteries they may never solve.Despite tales (and hope) that their missing presumed dead loved ones are simply injured and unable to get home, there is no happy ending for Alice and Ruby in this respect (and for a novel on this subject, it would have taken away a lot of the emotional punch if Sam or Bertie had simply re-appeared alive and well in a Belgian hospital)The inclusion of a German character adds a further dimension to the story as this is not something that is regularly explored in stories looking at the aftermath of war. It is interesting to see Martha posing as a Swiss national and pretending to be looking for the grave of her Nephew as there is clearly still an air of suspicion and mistrust of Germans amongst the locals in Belgium, and the reaction of local ‘tour guides’ when Martha expresses her wish to go to a German cemetery is well written, and, in its own way quite shocking. Indeed, it is perhaps sobering to remember that the impact of the war was far reaching for all concerned.Compelling, touching, and believable, this is an easy going but serious and well researched book about the aftermath of war on those left behind, and the value of friendship. For a largely fictional story, there is a lot of historical fact, and it paints a vivid and realistic picture of the realties faced by the families of those who lost their lives on the battlefields.
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