Spring 1919: WWI is over and a fragile peace has descended over the country. Now living in Cambridge with husband Edmond, Amy Derwent is settling into her new life as wife and mother to little Beth. But try as she might, the shadow of the Great War looms large, particularly as the injuries Edmond sustained at Ypres still take their toll on him today.
Edmond’s cousin, Vicky, has now grown into a fine young woman, eager to do her bit and help her country. Throwing off her privileged background to train as a nurse, she spends her days tending to the many soldiers still suffering the after-effects of their time on the battlefield.
Meeting Maxim Duclos, a young Frenchman who has arrived in Larchbury, fills her heart with joy – but when it is discovered that Maxim may be hiding the truth about his past, Vicky is faced with an impossible choice. Follow her heart’s desire and risk her family’s disapproval or deny herself the chance of love, but remain a dutiful daughter?
The war may be over, but Edmond, Amy and Vicky must all face a new battle, finding their own peace in a country wounded by loss.
What I Thought:
Regular readers will know that I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and even more so for that set during WW1, so I had to check out Until We Can Forgive by Rosemary Goodacre.
This third novel in The Derwent Chronicles sees Edmund and Amy, who have courted, married and survived the war in the previous two novels, begin to build a life in post-war Cambridge. Despite their best efforts to forge a hopeful new life and begin to build bridges with their recent enemy, the people of their acquaintance seem less willing to move forward into a lasting peace.
Rosemary Goodacre writes with clear knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the post-WW1 period, and the book has obviously been thoroughly researched, allowing us to be drawn completely into Edmund and Amy’s world. The social and class norms of the day may seem foreign to us now, but you get a great sense of the battles that the couple have had to fight to be together, being as they are of a different class.
The examination of attitudes towards the Germans in this book is really interesting – you can well imagine that many who had lost loved ones may feel that harsh sanctions would be fully deserved and that it would be impossible to forgive, while some characters put forward the view that it is more important to forge new friendships and move forward in the spirit of forgiveness. We all know how it turned out in the end, but it is interesting to see both viewpoints put forward here.
While reading this book those of us on the blog tour were informed that, sadly, Rosemary Goodacre had recently passed away. It is incredibly sad that Rosemary’s clear love of this period in history and love of writing will not be brought to bear on any future novels. The three books in the Derwent Chronicles are a fitting legacy.
Until We Can Forgive is published by Hera Books.
The three books in The Derwent Chronicles can be bought from all good stockists and directly from Hive.
This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of Until We Can Forgive – why not take a look at some of the blogs below for more content?
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.