Hettie, a dance instructress at the Palais, lives at home with her mother and her brother, mute and lost after his return from the war. One night, at work, she meets a wealthy, educated man and has reason to think he is as smitten with her as she is with him. Still there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach...Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, more and more estranged from her posh parents, she looks for solace in her adored brother who has not been the same since he returned from the front...Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband of 25 years has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out of work veterans. But when he shows signs of being seriously disturbed-she recognizes the symptoms of "shell shock"-and utters the name of her son she is jolted to the core...(source: Goodreads)
Anna Hope is an English writer and actress from Manchester. She is perhaps best known for her Doctor Who role of Novice Hame. She was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and Birkbeck College, London.
My interest in this book was triggered by the cover. I saw it and had to know what this book was about. When the first sentence of the publisher mentioned "for people who enjoyed the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" I knew I had to read this book. I am not a big fan of multiple story lines and hoped that the stories would connect in a way that makes sense.
The first fifty pages I had a hard time getting all the characters straight. I was not always sure what the connection was or if I had the right person with the right woman. The writing is pleasant though and while I continued reading most pieces fell in place. I did not really connect with either of the woman though. Evelyn was the most outstanding of the woman for me though it took a long time for some important parts of her story to be explained which made some of her moves hard to understand. Ada's story was a very basic one of a mother loosing her son. It was recognizable and I really liked the way it all worked out. The mystery surrounding Michaels dead was very strong and I could not wait for it to be explained. Though I did find Hettie's situation interesting and would have loved to have a complete book about her experience at the Palais I did not really feel much of her connection with this story except that she ran into a few of the other characters.
The story was interesting with the background of the Unknown Warrior and what that did to the people. I do feel that emotion in the pages. The ending was very abrupt though and it did not feel right.
Wake: A Novel
Author: Anna Hope
Publisher: Random House
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