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Sunday 17 January 2010

Remembrance Day

by Leah Fleming

This is a beautifully crafted book with a poignancy that will stay with me for a long time to come.

It begins with a narrowly avoided tragedy during a hot summer’s day in 1913, the result of which irrevocably ties two families together forever, setting in motion catastrophic twists in the futures of everyone involved.

Blacksmith’s daughter, Selma Bartley becomes involved with upper class Guy Cantrell. However their budding romance is discovered by his mother, Lady Hester, who will not let anything divert her from stopping this unsuitable young woman distracting her son from the future he has been trained to follow.

Guy’s twin brother, Angus, bearing the consequences of his high spirits, takes his chance to live life to the full and secretly replaces his recuperating brother on the battlefields in France resulting in a tragedy that will resonate through both families for decades.

The forbidden love between Selma and Guy is heartbreaking and the selfish, misguided actions of others force them apart and on to paths neither had ever anticipated following. Both strong-minded they separately deal with the blows life has given them; making choices that will take them away from everything they know.

This book is so beautifully written that once I’d started reading I found it hard to put it down, ending up losing hours in the story, which kept me riveted and wanting to know how, if at all possible, Selma and Guy could possibly resolve their differences.

The ending was satisfying. Having read so many books, I can usually guess what the outcome between characters will be, with this book however I didn’t know, which made it all the more enjoyable.

This is one of the best books I read last year and I look forward to reading Leah Fleming’s other novels.

Reviewed by Debs Carr

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