One Minute Book Review – The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

The Wild Air begins in 1909 with the arrival in Cleethorpes of fourteen-year-old Cordelia 'Della' Dobbs' great Auntie Betty, after 20 years spent in America. Della is plain, silent and shy, but discovers a kindred spirit in her Auntie Betty who has an interest in engineering and manned flight in particular, having seen the Wright … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

One Minute Book Review – Mothering Sunday – A Romance by Graham Swift

Traditionally Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent, a day when domestic servants were given the day off to visit their families. Jane Fairchild, the Niven family’s maid, is a foundling so has no mother to visit. This Mothering Sunday, the 30th of March 1924, is a light filled day that feels like summer … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Mothering Sunday – A Romance by Graham Swift

One Minute Book Review: The Spy by Paul Coelho

This short novel by Paul Coelho begins with British reporter Henry Wales’ eyewitness account of the execution by firing squad on 15 October 1917 of Margaretha Zelle otherwise known as Mata Hari. Of a middle-class Dutch family, Margaretha was brought up by an uncle after her parents died. At school she was raped by her … Continue reading One Minute Book Review: The Spy by Paul Coelho

Book Review – One Woman’s War and Peace by Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d)

When I think of Australian women’s military service, particularly in relation to World War 1, I think of the women of Australian Army Nursing Service. 2,139 AANS nurses served overseas during World War I attending wounded Australian soldiers in all major campaigns. They worked behind the lines in field hospitals and on hospital ships that … Continue reading Book Review – One Woman’s War and Peace by Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d)

One Minute Book Review – Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Letters from Skye is a gentle story of love, longing and war told through a series of letters. Poet Elspeth Dunn’s story begins in 1912 when she receives her first fan letter from an American student, David Graham. This is the beginning of an extended correspondence between the two which continues through the war years, … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

One Minute Book Review – The Beauty and the Sorrow by Peter Englund

The Beauty and the Sorrow is subtitled 'an intimate history of the First World War' and comprises a collection of letters and diary entries from twenty people who lived through the First World War. The diaries and letters are interspersed with narrative which traces the war, year by year. The individuals followed come from a … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Beauty and the Sorrow by Peter Englund

We Will Remember Them

We are now over two years into our commemoration of the centenary of the Great War. Overwhelmingly people have approached these commemorations with an attitude of solemnity. Whether for wreath laying ceremonies or visits to war memorials or to museums, thoughts are primarily on those who were lost. Going through newspapers over the 50 years … Continue reading We Will Remember Them

One Minute Book Review – A Test of Wills by Charles Todd

This is more like a two and a half minute review. A Test of Wills is the first in the Ian Rutledge series, written by mother and son team Caroline and Charles Todd. It begins in June 1919 with Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard detective, returned after five years military service in France. Prior to … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – A Test of Wills by Charles Todd

One Minute Book Review – The Lie by Helen Dunmore

Shell-shocked and haunted by the death of his best friend, Daniel Branwell returns to his childhood village where he no longer has any family ties. He is offered shelter by an elderly blind woman and, when she dies, takes over her isolated cottage setting in train the events and lies, of omission and commission, which … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Lie by Helen Dunmore

One Minute Book Review – Wake by Anna Hope

Set in November 1920, Wake takes place over the five days between the exhumation and burial of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day. The account of the body’s journey from an unknown grave in France to London is interwoven with the emotional journey of three bereaved women each struggling to deal with … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Wake by Anna Hope