FICTION

The Poppy Wife

Morrow. Nov. 2019. 448p. ISBN 9780062955326. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062955319. F
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DEBUT Edie Blythe’s husband had been declared missing and presumed killed in action in 1917. So when an envelope with a smudged postmark containing a picture of him and no explanatory letter shows up in her mailbox four years later, Edie is afraid to hope that he might be alive. What is there to do but follow the multitudes of others searching for their loved ones in the desolation of France after the war? Edie does have the help of her brother-in-law Harry, who is on the battlefields photographing graves for loved ones mourning at home, but he is scarred physically and mentally by the conflict and may not be the best guide. Can he trust his memory, or his feelings as, like so many others in the mass confusion and disruption following World War I, he searches for clues of lost loved ones among the rubble and destruction?
VERDICT British historian Scott’s first novel is a beautifully evocative reminder of what it means to come back from war and to face the age-old question of whether it is better to have survived or to have died. Highly recommended.

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