|Random House UK|
16 January 2014
Five Days in November 1920
The story takes place over five days in November 1920 and as the body of the Unknown Soldier makes its way from the fields of Northern France, to its final resting place in Westminster Abbey, three very different women are coming to terms with their own personal losses.
Hetty, is a dancer at the Hammersmith Palais, she witnesses the emotional instability of the returning soldiers as they pay their sixpence for her to waltz with them. Ada is a mother struggling to come to terms with the tragic loss of her son, Michael. And Eva is a rich but bored socialite, who whiles away her time at a lowly paid job in the pensions office. The interlinking of these individual accounts does not, at first, appear obvious, but gradually as the layers of the story are peeled away, the personal stories of overwhelming loss and devastation are revealed in stark brutality.
The story is beautifully written, rich in historical detail, which is made all the more poignant by the role the Unknown Soldier played in public consciousness in the aftermath of the Great War.
I am sure that this centenary year of the commemoration of the start of World War One will see many fictional accounts of wartime. Wake will, for me, be one of the memorable ones.
My thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK Transworld Publishers for my advance copy of this book.