Thursday, April 4, 2013

Motherland, William Nicholson

MotherlandFrom the prologue: Alice Dickinson sits in the back of the Peugeot, though she would prefer to sit in the front, watching the orchards of Normandy roll by. 

I was pleasantly surprised to receive Motherland in the mail; it's always so nice to get books, especially when they haven't come out yet and you can gloat. Thanks to Simon & Schuster. Motherland is also written by the writer of the screenplay for Les Miserables, which I have not seen but may eventually. "You come from a long line of mistakes, Guy Caulder tells his daughter Alice. My mother married the wrong man. Her mother did the same. At the end of a love affair, Alice journeys to Normandy to meet Guy's mother, the grandmother she has never known. She tells her granddaughter that, in spite of the troubles her family has faced, there was one true love story in her past. In the summer of 1942, Kitty is an ATS driver stationed in Sussex. She meets Ed, a Royal Marine commando, and Larry, a liaison officer with Combined Operations under the command of Louis Mountbatten. Kitty falls instantly in love with Ed, who falls in love with her. So does Larry. Mountbatten mounts a seaborne raid on the beaches of German-occupied Dieppe in northern France. One of the worst disasters of the war, it has a profound effect on both Larry and Ed, and its repercussions will echo through the generations to come."

I love historical fiction, and a well-written love triangle can be okay, so I thought I would enjoy this book. I was not ultimately disappointed, though it was a bit hard to get into. I didn't love Motherland, but I certainly liked it. From the very beginning, I preferred Larry to Ed. Ed's heart is in the right place, but he has these moods, and I could tell he wouldn't be good for Kitty. Larry, however, is really smart and quite the artist. He's so much more caring than Ed is.

The writing in Motherland is pretty good. The descriptions of happiness (and unhappiness) all against the backdrop of World War II were amazing. And also of the loneliness and the darkness felt by many of the characters during and after the war. It was described really well, though it made the book rather depressing.

There was also a dry patch in the middle, in which nothing much seemed to advance in terms of the main plot. I kept waiting for something important to happen, and it never did. The part in India, especially, didn't seem to serve any function except to make Larry meet Geraldine, which could have just as easily happened in England.

But still, as I said, the writing in this book was interesting, and I ended up liking Motherland, though the cover is horribly garish, and the title kind of cheesy. Still, if it sounds interesting, give it a try. I liked the premise, and the book itself was enjoyable.

Read Motherland:
  • if you like historical fiction (WWII)
  • if you like romance/love triangles
445 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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