Friday, January 10, 2014
Book Review - In Falling Snow - Mary Rose MacColl
Title: In Falling Snow
Author: MaryRose MacColl
Review: Well, this book was interesting when I was finally able to get far enough into it. At the beginning it jumps around too much and I had trouble keeping track of what time period I was supposed to be in.
That said, the book was an interesting read with some language that I thought was totally unnecessary to the story line, it did absolutely nothing to further the story or to build the character. My advice TAKE IT OUT!!
The following is taken from the publicity that was sent with the book “A World War 1 novel of love, loss and the strength of two women’s spirits….When Iris receives an envelope bearing the Royaumont logo memories of her bittersweet past shatter the tranquility of her contented, elderly life. Suddenly, she remembers her first love, her best friend and the tragedy that changed everything.”
The story starts in 1914 when our heroine, Iris, makes the trans-continental journey from Australia to France with the hope of bringing home her fifteen year old brother who had enlisted. While waiting for a train in Paris to take her to the front, she meets the charismatic Miss Ivens, who is starting up a field hospital in an old Abby in the countryside in France. Since Iris is a nurse and seems to have time on her hands, Miss Ivens enlists her help in delivering supplies to the up and coming hospital. The experiences she has while there and the friendships she makes shape and change her life forever.
Parallel to the story of Iris’s adventures is the story of a young woman doctor in 1971 named Grace, who is Iris granddaughter. Her story revolves around her struggle to be accepted into a male dominated work place, trying to balance home-life and a demanding profession with her concerns about her grandmother, who raised her and who is aging badly and the failing health of her sweet little son.
The story was interesting but the reading is slow. The book at times seems to go on forever and ever and maybe even ever! It did not keep my interest, but I read to the end and there at the end was a surprise I had not foreseen coming.
The story takes an unexpected twist and I think will take just about any reader by surprise. The author is very good at descriptive writing and at slowly building the story and her characters. Her descriptions are vivid and you can see and feel the cold of the winter nights in the old abbey at Royaumont, France.
I give this book of three out of five stars.
Publisher: Published August 27th 2013 by Penguin books
(first published September 26th 2012)
Page Numbers: 448
Quick Review: 3 out 5 stars
Why I Read this Title: I love WWII novels and this was sent by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: A vivid and compelling story of love, war and secrets, set against the backdrop of WWI France. 'In the beginning, it was the summers I remembered - long warm days under the palest blue skies, the cornflowers and forget-me-nots lining the road through the Lys forest, the buzz of insects going about their work, Violet telling me lies.' Iris is getting old. A widow, her days are spent living quietly and worrying about her granddaughter, Grace, a headstrong young doctor. It's a small sort of life. But one day an invitation comes for Iris through the post to a reunion in France, where she served in a hospital during WWI. Determined to go, Iris is overcome by the memories of the past, when as a shy, naive young woman she followed her fifteen-year-old brother, Tom, to France in 1914 intending to bring him home. On her way to find Tom, Iris comes across the charismatic Miss Ivens, who is setting up a field hospital in the old abbey of Royaumont, north of Paris. Putting her fears aside, Iris decides to stay at Royaumont, and it is there that she truly comes of age, finding her capability and her strength, discovering her passion for medicine, making friends with the vivacious Violet and falling in love. But war is a brutal thing, and when the ultimate tragedy happens, there is a terrible price that Iris has to pay, a price that will echo down the generations. A moving and uplifting novel about the small, unsung acts of heroism of which love makes us capable.
Author Information: Mary-Rose MacColl is an Australian writer whose first novel, No Safe Place, was runner-up in the 1995 Australian Vogel literary award. Her first non-fiction book, The Birth Wars, was a finalist in the 2009 Walkley Awards. In Falling Snow (October 2012), Mary-Rose's fourth novel, tells the largely unknown story of a small group of Scottish women who ran a field hospital for France in World War I in an old abbey. MacColl holds degrees in journalism and creative writing and lives between Brisbane, Australia and Banff, Canada with her husband and son.