wakeAs one of many novels published this year with a WWI theme, Wake by Anna Hope could get lost in the pile. So I would urge you to pick it up immediately and read it. Set over five Days in November, 1920 as the body of the Unknown Soldier makes its way home from the fields of Northern France, three women are dealing with loss in their own way: Hettie, who dances for sixpence a waltz at the Hammersmith Palais; Evelyn, who toils at a job in the pensions office, and Ada, a housewife who is beset by visions of her dead son. One day a young man comes to her door. He carries with him a wartime mystery that will bind these women together and will both mend and tear their hearts.

The waste of war is so evident and painful in her writing and not only for the loss of life but the impact it has on those left behind whom everyone assumed “are ok” but rarely are. The desperation to bring closure without a body is respectfully treated in this sombre tale which I think sets a perfect tone to go through 2014 and the commemorations for that terrible war.

Hope also brings to light or reminds of that WWI was a “class war” so that depending on your circumstances you probably always ended up a private or made Captain and possibly safety.

This is a sombre read and justly so, an excellent debut novel and one to watch throughout 2014.