|Harvest Nights by Pamela Evans|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Katie Blow|
|Summary: The Tripps and Fenners are two very different families but will be brought together by the most unbreakable bond: love. A light-hearted and easy read, perfect for all those long winter nights.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 416||Date: September 2010|
It is 1920 and London is struggling to deal with the consequences of the Great War. Unemployment is high and money is scarce. Clara Tripp, a former Land Girl has been forced to return to the city to work as a waitress, leaving behind the countryside which she loves so much. When Charlie Fenner, an acquaintance from Clara's Land Army days, comes in to the teashop where she works, Clara can't help but feel overjoyed. He offers her temporary work on his parents' orchard in Kent and she gladly accepts. Yet a serious accident forces Clara to stay longer than expected and it is then that she makes a shocking discovery which threatens to destroy the Fenner family. Back in London Clara struggles with her confused emotions and the looming prospect of her marriage to local boy Arnold. When devastating news comes from Kent, Clara realises she can no longer keep her discovery a secret. But coming face-to-face with Charlie again means Clara must acknowledge her buried feelings and make a decision between doing the right thing and following her heart.
The storyline is simple and moves at a comfortable pace. On occasions the dialogue drags on a bit without adding anything significant to the plot and slows down the pace of the story. This is certainly not one of the most gripping and exciting books I've read. Having said that, I did find the second half better than the first; the pace of the story quickens with a few exciting twists thrown in. Tension builds right until the end of the book as one waits to learn Clara's fate.
Whilst the themes are predominantly love, family and friendship, there are some interesting underlying ones too such as social class, feminism and conflict. I like how Evans has managed to capture the attitude of post-war women in the young protagonist, Clara. She is strong, brave, independent and very willing to work and learn. At the beginning of the book I found her character too perfect and it seemed she could do no wrong. However, towards the end when Clara must make a heart-breaking decision, I began to warm to her. Her uncertainty and fear transforms her into someone I could empathise with. By the end of the book she has become a woman who isn't afraid to defy society in order to pursue her own dreams and desires.
I was drawn to this book by its front cover, which I know isn't the best way to choose a book but something in the illustration told me it was going to be a really gripping and moving read. Whilst it is up to a point, it did not live up to my high expectations. I expect that is partly my fault for judging the book by its cover. I now know that family sagas and I are a badly matched pair. However, every cloud has a silver lining and I did find it an easy and entertaining read, perfect for those long winter nights. There is a cosy warmth which emanates from both the characters and the story, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
If you're someone who likes a book they can read in one sitting, this certainly isn't what you're looking for. However, if you want something light-hearted and easy to read, this could be the book for you. Unfortunately for me, I fall into the former category and so didn't exactly enjoy reading this. Yet I'm sure if you're a fan of family sagas you'll get a lot out of this book and find it a most pleasant read.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain
You can read more book reviews or buy Harvest Nights by Pamela Evans at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Harvest Nights by Pamela Evans at Amazon.com.
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