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Library Journal★ 02/01/2014
Many men who come home from war physically unharmed are so emotionally scarred that they have no clear idea how to live the rest of their lives. When he returns to Cornwall in 1920 at the end of World War I, Daniel Branwell has lost his mother, his home, and his dearest friend, Frederic Dennis. So when an old neighbor falls ill and dies, Daniel quietly buries her, moves into her cottage, and tends her small farm, laying low and hoping to escape notice. Plagued by childhood and wartime memories, he seeks out Frederic's sister, having grown up with the Dennis children despite the vast difference in their circumstances (Daniel's mother worked in the grand Dennis home). But the war separates Daniel, a private, and Frederic, an officer, until Frederic's company is wiped out and the two friends end up together in a deadly battle. VERDICT As the 100th anniversary of World War I approaches, there will be many new books about the conflict. Orange Prize winner Dunmore's sad and searing portrait of a young man shattered by his experiences and haunted by his losses will be one of the standouts. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/13.]—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.