FICTION

Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War

Morrow. Jan. 2014. 499p. ISBN 9780062273451. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062273468. F
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When Lady Elizabeth "Lilly" Neville-Ashford breaks free of her wealthy parents' control and becomes an ambulance driver at the front, "somewhere in France," she discovers an unexpected perk in also being able to be close to her childhood crush, surgeon Robbie Fraser, whose lower-class origins made him an unworthy suitor in her parents' eyes. The war provides its own obstacles to the couple's relationship, however, and Robbie and Lilly struggle to overcome both the horrors around them and their own fears and anxieties about the future.
VERDICT Although Robbie and Lilly's love story dominates the narrative, debut novelist Robson never creates enough tension to leave the reader in any doubt about the romance's probable outcome, and Robbie remains a somewhat bland and underdeveloped figure throughout. Lilly's determination and insistence on learning to be more independent, however, should appeal to readers who like tales of plucky heroines making the best of tough circumstances, and her unusual perspective as a female ambulance driver puts an interesting spin on the scenes of wartime carnage.

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