Monday, May 5, 2014

Somewhere In France (Jennifer Robson)

We read this book for book club. I wasn't too taken by it at first. I think I read the first four chapters 3 times. I had a couple books going at the same time, which might have been part of the problem. I did finally get into it while we were in Fernie, but it was a little too late. I ended up not finishing it in time for book club.

Book Club was the game changer though. First of, Karen handed me a book plate from the author. So cool! We had scheduled a skype session with Jennifer Robson. She gave us so much information. It is clear she lives the history of this era. There were so much more than a bunch of tea-lovers (although, they sure did love tea! p. 281)  I learned so much. I gained a whole new appreciation for women of this time, for people's dedicatation to the cause during the war and for life in general back then. The characters were very tied up in trying to do something to support the war and to do their part. One of the great struggles of the main character is that her family and her friends seem to want to shelter her and protect her rather than let her serve (p. 241). It was also very interesting to see what war brought out in people. Edward finds himself totally unflummoxed by all the horrors that he sees (p. 252), whereas Robbie is quite bothered by it all.

One of the things that initially drove me crazy was how women were not just subservient to men, but really seemed to bow to their wishes. Men could scold the women and they'll hang their heads sorrowfully (p. 279). That irritated me. However, it was a totally different time. Women couldn't vote. I learned from Jennifer Robson though, that even some men couldn't vote. You had to be a landowner to vote. That kind of tamed my feminist angst about this whole story. Lilly, the main character, though, stands her ground, even when people she loves try to lock her out of performing her duty (p. 318). I was proud of her for how she stayed true to what she felt was really important. In the end, Robbie loves her for just that (p. 356). I learned a lot of cool things in this book. Like a ceilidh. What is that? A ceilidh is a party, gathering, or the like, at which singing and storytelling are the usual forms of entertainment.

I was half way though the book when I went to book club. The next day, when I dropped my kids of at their church activities, I parked the van, got settled, and read for an hour and a half. The next morning I took Jill to seminary and sat and read again for another hour. I was sorely tempted to give my kids some seat work so I could continue to read during the school day (they were all for that!). Instead, Friday night I went and bought a copy of the book. My son was very impressed that I had a book plate from the author. He chose a new book. We came home, took freshly cleaned sheds out of the dryer, and jumped in bed while they were still warm. We read and read and read.

My opinion of the book changed from indifferent to loving it. This book is a great book!

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