Title: The Storms of War
Author: Kate Williams
Publication: Pegasus Books, Hardcover, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Vera Brittain, she can’t bear to be left behind when her brother and closest friend are serving in France, so signs up to drive ambulances despite never having driven a car. This volume follows the de Witt family from 1914 to 1918
Audience: Fans of historical fiction and those who share my interest in women and war work. I have also added this book to my Downton Abbey Recommended Reading List.
What I liked: Author Williams is a historian, known for books about Queen Victoria, Emma Hamilton, and Josephine Bonaparte, and her writing is strong and historically accurate. I never had that moment, too frequent lately in poorly edited books, where one come across an anachronism that completely jolts the reader out of the book. The quality of the writing greatly contributed to my enjoyment of The Storms of War.
I have read dozens of books set during this time frame and, as I mentioned to a friend last night, I am very familiar with all the usual plot variations: heroine in love with family retainer, heroine wants to go to university, heroine misunderstood by family, heroine wants to serve in France like brother, male character can’t handle pressure of battle, shell-shocked soldiers, and many more. However, I felt that Williams handled these well-worn plot elements in a way that made them seem fresh, entertaining, and appealing. I particularly appreciated the vivid descriptions of Celia nerve-rackingly driving an ambulance in the dark in France!
Source: I read about this book when it was published in England (in fact, I suggested to several editor friends that they acquire it quickly but I guess Pegasus beat them to the punch) and requested it from the Brookline Library. Looking forward to the next book in the trilogy!
(photo above of a woman ambulance driver is copyright to http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/firstworldwar/ww-brit-women-prop.htm)