Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Moon Field - Judith Allnatt



The novel opens with an intriguing prologue in which a tin box and its contents are described; immediately the reader is keen to discover the provenance of these objects. It is 1914, and eighteen-year-old George Farrell is a postman who has befriended, and secretly fallen for, Violet Walter, a young woman whose grand home he delivers to on his rounds in the villages around the fells in the Northern Lake District. One day, he delivers a letter to Violet, preparing to declare his true emotions to her, however, when she reveals the contents of the letter - she is in love with another man - he knows he cannot. Desperately disappointed, he flees, makes some new friends, drowns his sorrows, and against his peace-loving family’s wishes, and indeed his own prior pacifist beliefs, he enlists to fight in the war. Those he leaves behind, his family and his colleagues at the post office, including the owner’s daughter, George’s dear best friend Kitty, await anxiously for news.

The Moon Field is a moving story of the innocence, joy and pain of young love and of a changing society in a world altered forever, told through understated yet powerful prose. Judith Allnatt writes beautifully, with honesty and compassion, about 1914-15, the bravery of George in going to fight, the tragedy and futility he sees, his loved ones at home always fearing the worst but hoping for the best.


I loved the strong evocation of time and place, the feeling of an ordinary, decent young man’s innocence being lost forever so that he no longer recognises in himself the man he was before, and the idea of whether it is possible to rediscover joy in life after witnessing such senseless loss and experiencing desperate sadness. 

The Moon Field is a very good read, and a timely and fitting novel with 2014 seeing the centenary of the start of World War One – it reminds us of what must have been the terrible reality of those times; ordinary young men like George heroically offering themselves up in the patriotic defence of their country, only to discover the cruel realities and horror of the war.


Source - We Love This Book - thanks to them for a review copy of this novel
Publisher - HarperCollins - 16th January 2014

14 comments:

  1. I've read praise for Judith Allnatt's previous books, and this sounds intriguing. I'm trying not to be overwhelmed by WW1 books this year, but so many of them seem so very good.

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    1. Me too, Jane, in fact I know I bought one of them - to do with John Clare I think? I know what you mean, there are a lot out or coming that sound very good indeed.

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  2. Nice review. I'm adding this book to my 2014 list.

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    1. Thanks Catherine. :) I hope you'll like it.

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  3. Like Catherine I'm adding this to my must read list. Lovely review.
    Happy New Year.

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  4. This sounds like a really great book in a lot of ways. A small point, but I tend to really like plot devices that focus on an object or set of objects that played prominently into a story that occurred years earlier.

    The entire disillusionment thing and WW I is something that I have been thinking about lately.

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    1. Yes, it's nice how that is done at the start and then the reader discovers the significance. This book caused me to think about that a lot - in particular how 'ordinary' a man George is, so many who didn't expect to see what they did.

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  5. Lovely review Lindsay - I think another to add to WL!

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    1. Thanks for the kind comment Karen, I think you'd like this one.

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  6. Great review, this sounds like an extremely moving novel, just my kind of read.

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    1. Thanks Tracy. A fitting read for 2014.

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  7. Hi Lindsay,

    I too am trying not to get too bogged down with war books this year, although the inevitabilty of being offered a few for review, is a foregone conclusion.

    Judith Allnatt isn't an author I have come across before, however I managed to reaserch her a little and discovered three books, with totally unique and individual synopses, yet each totally intriguing and beguiling, so I am already adding to my TBR in the first week of the New Year.

    Your review of 'The Moon Field' is both thorough and thoughtful, thank you so much,

    Yvonne

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Yvonne. I know what you mean. Yes I want to read this author's other books too.

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