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Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War

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Overview

In the dark and dangerous days of World War I, a daring young woman will risk her life to find her destiny.

Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lilly from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and ...

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Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War

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Overview

In the dark and dangerous days of World War I, a daring young woman will risk her life to find her destiny.

Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lilly from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front.

Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lilly's dreams. She doesn't care that Robbie grew up in poverty—she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lilly is the most beautiful—and forbidden—woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he's determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart.

In a world divided by class and filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive...or will it become another casualty of this tragic war?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/21/2013
Robson’s first novel examines the dynamic between love and duty in the midst of historical tragedy. As the story begins in 1914 England, Lady Elizabeth “Lilly” Neville-Ashford is under her domineering mother’s thumb. Countess Ashford is determined that Lilly marry another member of the aristocracy and has no qualms about interfering when Robert Fraser, a surgeon from a working-class background and the best friend of Lilly’s brother, Edward, shows the young woman kindness and interest. When WWI begins, Edward and Robert both sign up promptly to serve, and Lilly breaks with her family to do the same. She becomes an ambulance driver on the front lines in France, and when the chance comes to be assigned to Robert’s field hospital, she jumps at it. The love that grows between Lilly and Robert is colored by their proximity to war and death, as well as by the duty they both feel to their country. Robson’s skillful ability with detail and setting firmly relates the grotesqueries of war without gratuitous gore. Her deft touch as a storyteller keeps readers engaged in the story of the lovers, as well as illuminating the bigger picture of the war raging around them. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Lynn Sheene
Set in the turbulent years of the first world war, Somewhere in France is a heartfelt portrait of love, courage, and self-discovery. Robson deftly weaves a tale richly steeped in the atmosphere, drama and heroism of an evolving and war-torn world. A compelling and memorable read.
Booklist
“Robson intermingles the overarching themes of love, war, and societal strictures in this appealing read that should resonate with fans of Downton Abbey.”
Huffington Post
“…the fiercely independent Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford (Lily) will be sure to inspire readers.”
Erika Robuck
“Utterly engaging and richly satisfying, Somewhere in France depicts the very best in love and war. Fans of Downton Abbey will devour this novel!”
From the Publisher
"Robson intermingles the overarching themes of love, war, and societal strictures in this appealing read that should resonate with fans of Downton Abbey." —-Booklist
Library Journal
11/01/2013
When Lady Elizabeth "Lilly" Neville-Ashford breaks free of her wealthy parents' control and becomes an ambulance driver at the front, "somewhere in France," she discovers an unexpected perk in also being able to be close to her childhood crush, surgeon Robbie Fraser, whose lower-class origins made him an unworthy suitor in her parents' eyes. The war provides its own obstacles to the couple's relationship, however, and Robbie and Lilly struggle to overcome both the horrors around them and their own fears and anxieties about the future. VERDICT Although Robbie and Lilly's love story dominates the narrative, debut novelist Robson never creates enough tension to leave the reader in any doubt about the romance's probable outcome, and Robbie remains a somewhat bland and underdeveloped figure throughout. Lilly's determination and insistence on learning to be more independent, however, should appeal to readers who like tales of plucky heroines making the best of tough circumstances, and her unusual perspective as a female ambulance driver puts an interesting spin on the scenes of wartime carnage.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781494532192
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Robson is the USA Today and #1 Toronto Globe & Mail bestselling author of Somewhere in France. She holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and young children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Plot spoiler

    Please bn, can you do something to the plot spoiler heart2heart. She constantly reveals every detail of the book, sometimes including the ending of the story. There is absolutely no reason to reveal this much detail in a review. A few lines is all thats needed to tell if a book is good or not, yet this plot spoiler consistently goes into minute detail about the entire story line. Please do something to her, ban her or something. She is getting as bad as harriet klausner.

    27 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2014

    This novel interested me because it is about a time period I am

    This novel interested me because it is about a time period I am very interested in. I appreciated the different viewpoint that this novel had to offer than others who write about WWI. This author chose to write about the females who participated in the war, not something that is often talked about. The bravery of the female ambulance drivers is amazing. Robson does a wonderful job painting a picture of a very unglamorous position in the war. It was nice that the characters with removed from their gilded cages and into the war. An heiress who seemingly has it all is the main character. She shows that women wanted more than sitting around, looking pretty, and searching out the best bred man to marry. Lilly is the main character, and her brother Edward is similar in that he is out to prove he is capable of more than a desk job that he easily could have settled in to given his station in life. Though the novel covers complicated territory, it is somewhat simplistic and rather predictable. Some may complain about that aspect, but I found it comforting. I liked all the characters, and couldn't put the novel down. Since the book was somewhat predictable and simplistic, I wanted a book 2 right away. I wanted to see how life would carry on once this tragic war ended. Overall, I would recommend this novel to historical fiction audiences.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    I love stories that have to do with WWI or WWII so when I heard

    I love stories that have to do with WWI or WWII so when I heard about Somewhere in France I knew I had to read it. After the first couple of chapters I thought it was going to be Like Judith Kinghorn novel '"The Last Summer". This book was nothing like it and I enjoyed ever minute of it. If you like a good love story and WWI then this is a book for you.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    I love reading books that took place in the early 1900's with th

    I love reading books that took place in the early 1900's with the prim and properness of the ladies and gentlemen. This was a beautiful love story that just shows love will find a way.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Lady Elizabeth Ashford wants to know what it feels like to fall

    Lady Elizabeth Ashford wants to know what it feels like to fall in love. Tired of all the boring and stuffy suitors her mother finds suitable for her, she withdraws into the comfort of her brother's Edwards childhood friend, Robert Fraser. On the night of the ball she finds that after seven years of being away from one another and the games they spend time playing, they have both grown up quite a bit. She finds Robert charming and handsome but knows that her aristocratic parents will never let her marry a surgeon. They want her to marry and have children, but Lilly wants more out of life. She wants to travel and marry for love and not for money. She thinks Robert might just be the person she could fall in love with, if only her mother didn't intervene.

    She learns after an unexpected quick departure that her mother had told Robert to forget setting his sights on Lilly. She was engaged to be married and they were only stalling on the announcement while waiting for the celebration of her brother Edward's wedding to die down. Her only ally is her brother Edward who truly wants to very best for his sister. However soon the war rears its ugly head and the men are thrust into battle in France during the Great War. Believing it will be over sooner than later, Edward takes up corresponding with his sister encouraging her to join in the effort to help. Knowing the campaigning for supplies to ship out is something more suited to her mother, she finds solace in learning to drive cars from one of the men in her families employ.

    Yet once again Lilly is called out for her inappropriate behavior, first in corresponding with Edward and later Robert but in also taking up driving a car. Not the type of behavior for any lady. So Lilly does the unthinkable and moves out of her families home and influence and moves in with Charlotte Brown, a women who has tutored her as a young woman and now serves in the war helping out. She encourages Lilly to find something admirable to do. She moves to London and takes a newly formed position as an ambulance driver for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps or WAAC's since they need more men on the frontlines and she does know how to drive.

    Soon love grows between her and Robert as they continue to correspond during the war and they find that just the simple letters are enough for them to get to know one another. Robert continues as a surgeon in the war now and tries as best as he can to reassure Lilly that the war will be over soon and even that her brother Edward faces no harm considering his deployment status as a Lord. However soon the war continues longer than expected and Lilly wants to know if there is hope with Robert and gets assigned as an Ambulance driver for the 51st, the same division that Robert works as a surgeon in. But all is not fair in love and war and it will take a miracle for Lilly and Robert to survive.

    I received Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. The love story and historical background are amazing and so beautifully put together. It reminded me of Downton Abbey a bit when the war entered the series and the youngest daughter left to be a nurse and learned to drive a car. In both instances the family believed the influence of the driver was at fault and had them dismissed. There are a few instances of profanity as Lilly encounters the military leaders who aren't used to having a female in the war but that is to be expected. There is the portion of the novel when Lilly and Robert meet at a hotel and end up making love with neither of them married. It may offend some readers and that is why I feel I should caution readers about the content. It was something that happened quite a bit during the war when people who fell in love didn't expect to see one another again. With that being said, I easily give this one a 4 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read more from Jennifer Robson in the future. Historical romance fans will definitely LOVE this one.

    7 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    A MUST READ for Downton Abby genre fans~

    A MUST READ for Downton Abby genre fans~

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2014

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A sweet love st

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    A sweet love story that takes place during war and through a few countries with the two lovers from different "cultures," and how to overcome all of these very large obstacles!  Lady Ashford wants to see what is beyond her upbringing and leaves her cozy family home to help in the war effort while her brother's best friend came from nothing and has become a respected surgeon, but wants to help in his own way with the war effort as well.  Their paths cross a few times, but will it end positively?

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    Thought this was going to be another "Downton wannabe"

    Thought this was going to be another "Downton wannabe" but was pleasantly surprised it was not. At times the plot dragged a little, but overall it was very good. After finishing it several days ago I find myself still thinking about it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2014

    Wonderful historical novel

    I loved this book. Great love story set in the battlefields of WWI. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey this young lady will remind you of Lady Sybil, spunky and trying to be her own person in an era where that was nearly impossible for a woman of her class. Not as graphic in the war scenes as others I have read, but can be a little grizzly.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    The writing was good. The history part of the book was interesti

    The writing was good. The history part of the book was interesting. But you might as well go watch a Disney princess movie and the get same sort of substance. The story has no real twists and turns; it just cruises along into the most predictable ending where everything turns out to be sunshine and roses.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    THIS IS DUMB !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We shuold play clash of clan

    1 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2014

    Wonderful!

    Overall the book was a great read. There could have been a bit more depth between Robbie and Lily hence the four stars. However, one has to respect how the love story does develop and doesn't get weighted down by prolonged recriminations. I particularly enjoyed the depiction of the war and the reality of it for the characters. Definitely looking forward for the next book about Charlotte and Edward!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2014

    just read it and decide for yourself

    just read it and decide for yourself

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    Fabulous!

    A great read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Anon

    Good book! Enjoyed the historical elements, as well as the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Good side

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Highly recommend for those who enjoy historical novels

    In the process of reading

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    Great book!

    Awesome book!!!! I loved it! It was an easy read and sometimes that is just what you need.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    This was a very good read!

    I really enjoyed this book because it was a story about women and the roles that they played during WWI. The characters were very believable and the story was excellent.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Hard to put down

    The courage of the people during WWII who stepped forward to help the fighting men is
    well told in this novel. I had never read anything by this author before but look forward to future books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews

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