Edinburgh, World War Two. Ayrshire lass Agnes Thorne, just 17 and newlywed, is gamely trying to be the dutiful wife and fine Edinburgh lady, but aloof city folk are testing her spirit - as is her husband, Jeff.
Increasingly drawn into the Scottish independence movement and in awe of its charismatic leader, Jeff's refusal to sign up for the British Army in such turbulent times threatens both his own liberty and his wife's loyalty. Agnes thinks Jeff should stop worrying about Westminster and get on with fighting Hitler, and so do their disapproving neighbours.
When fate brings the war closer to her home than she could ever have imagined, Agnes realises that she will have to fight for her future. Audio recording: Alicia Ramsay. Audio editing: Sophie Franklin.
©2013 Victoria Hendry (P)2013 Saraband
"A remarkable debut...dramatic and engaging" (Alan Warner)
"Shortlisted for the Historical Writers Association Debut Crown 2014" - "A remarkable debut ... an excellent novel, dramatic and engaging, with a Buchan thrills quality.' (Alan Warner)
"The writing is fluid, lucent, clear, and the sense of secrecy is perfectly done. It's a brilliant achievement. As a first book, it's exceptional." (Manda Scott)
"Startlingly accomplished." (Julie Davidson, Sunday Herald)
"A novel of great intelligence and fluency" (Margaret Elphinstone)
"A compelling page-turner, with the plot's twists and turns delivering constant surprises. And if you expect big ethical issues from a wartime novel, you won't be disappointed: conscience, duty, loyalty, patriotism, nationality - and yes, love and tragedy - all loom large." (Kritikus)
book review watcher
On one level, this is a love story in which marriage doesn't turn out to be what a naive young bride had anticipated. On another, it's a tale of World War II's home front experience - privations, rations, fear, bomb shelters, neighbours and community, making do and mending, and daily balancing acts with conflicting loyalties and strong emotions. It's also the story of a girl becoming a woman, digging deep to find her inner resources when she has big decisions and harsh realities to face, when events threaten to divide her from her husband and family, and when she finds compassion and humanity where others see only a faceless, demonised enemy. National identity and politics form part of the setting and are thought-provoking. But there's humour, too, and the story is personal rather than political.
Agnes is a voice that is fresh and original, speaking across the generations of loneliness and longing, tradition and change, heart and head.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.