Remembrance Day by Leah Fleming

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Remembrance Day by Leah Fleming

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A well-turned story spanning two world wars, with characters you warm to and some neat twists in the plot. Recommended as a good holiday read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 458 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 978-1847561039

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In the year 2000 an old lady in a wheelchair watches the unveiling of the new war memorial in the village square. There's pride in what has been achieved, in the family who are gathered around her and there are memories too. Some are good but many are not.

It's strange to think that you can wake up one morning and not know that what happens that day will change your life, but this is what happened to Selma Dixon. It was a hot afternoon in August 1913 in a village in Yorkshire. The three Dixon children were playing in the river Foss. They shouldn't really have been there but the arrival of the Cantrell twins – sons of the owners of the land – and their nod of acceptance allowed the afternoon to continue. Guy Cantrell was responsible but his brother Angus was not and his competitive streak left him unconscious at the bottom of the pool. It was only the prompt action of the Dixon children which saved him – and so the lives of the Dixons and the Cantrells became intertwined.

War, of course, was not far away and the two Dixon boys enlisted as soon as they could. The Cantrell twins had been in the OTC and would enter the army as officers, but Angus was soon invalided out as he suffered fits. The fact that he and Guy were identical twins would provoke another tragedy. And disgrace will haunt the footsteps of the Dixon family.

Remembrance Day is a cut above the usual chick-lit family saga with a well-turned plot which kept me guessing right to the end. Lives don't turn out neatly, or even as you might have hoped they might, but what happens is realistic and credible. What might seem like a coincidence too far in real life seems entirely reasonable and I read all four hundred and fifty-odd pages over the course of twenty-four hours. The book is backed by excellent research but is written from knowledge rather than with the need to get every fact in somewhere. It's good, interesting and entertaining stuff.

The characters draw you in. Selma's not perfect but she does try to do her best and you want things to work out for her. The Cantrell twins are an interesting combination with the similarities sharpening the contrasts between them. All the characters come of the page well though and it's good to see how they develop throughout the book. There's interesting social commentary too on the miscarriages of justice from the First World War.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. We also have a review of The Last Pearl by Leah Fleming.

Remembrance Day is recommended as the book for one of those days when you just want to curl up with the good read. If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The House at Riverton by Kate Morton and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

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Buy Remembrance Day by Leah Fleming at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Remembrance Day by Leah Fleming at


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