Thrilled to host one of today's Blog Tour stops
On Hist Fic Saturday
Let's go back to ...1918
29 October 2020
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and Random Things Tours for the invitation to the blog tour
They need him to remember. He wants to forget. 1918. In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home where his doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good. When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home?
Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief, and the search for hope in the aftermath of war.
What did I think about it..
As first hand memories of the Great War fade into the shadows of history so does our perception of what it was like for families up and down the country to receive that deadly telegram with the devastating words " Missing, presumed, killed" and just how much hope clung to the belief that their loved ones would eventually return, hale, hearty and none the worse for their adventure.
When a uniformed soldier is found cowering in Durham Cathedral in the last few days of WW1, the authorities have no clue as to his identity as the soldier remembers nothing of either his time in the army, or of his previous life with family and friends. Seemingly traumatised, the man, known only by a made up name of Adam Galilee, is taken to Fellside House, a rehabilitation hospital in the English Lake District where kindly doctors attempt to put the jigsaw pieces of Adam's life back together. However, in a desperate attempt to discover Adam's identity, a newspaper publishes a feature along with grainy photograph of him which brings several women to the hospital, each convinced that Adam is someone precious to them.
What then follows is a deeply, emotional story which looks at the trauma of loss and grief, not just of those who are desperately searching for a lost loved one, but also from the fragmented pieces of men who had lost so much of what was precious about themselves. Horrors of trauma and the inglorious nature of war haunts their dreams, and colours their world with nightmare scenes of death and destruction on a scale never before witnessed.
When I Come Home Again is a beautifully written story by an author who doesn't shy away from those stories which have a strong emotional impact. She gives us a really special lyrical quality to the story especially in the describing the area around Fellside House, the natural glory of gardens, the surprises revealed by nature but alongside is the uncompromising effect of the nightmare visions conjured by men who only ever wanted to forget what they had witnessed.
When I Come Home Again is a compelling and heart-wrenching story by a talented author who brings this traumatic period in history alive in a very special way.
About the Author
Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France. The Photographer of the Lost was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.
Twitter @CScottBooks #WhenIComeHomeAgain