|Penguin (7 Feb 2013)|
The story opens in 1912, and in the idyllic setting of the English countryside Elinor and Toby Brooke share a dark secret.Their intense brother and sister relationship is made all the more poignant five years later when Toby is declared missing believed killed in WW1.
Using her contacts at the Slade School of Art, Elinor is determined to find out the truth behind Toby's disappearance. Her search will take her from the battlefields of northern France, to the pioneering work of the surgeons who strive to repair shattered faces in the aftermath of devastating injuries.
Whilst Toby's Room can be read an a standalone story , my view is that it is beneficial to read Life Class first, as the characters do overlap, and the dénouement makes more sense if you have proper knowledge of the characters.
Pat Barker obviously knows and loves this period and writes with such conviction, that the characters live on in your imagination, even after the last page is turned.