The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott
Simon & Schuster, 2019. ISBN: 9781471187674.
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. A poignant and emotional story of love, loss and hope set upon the backdrop of World War I. In 1916, Francis Blythe enlisted in the Great War, knowing that his brothers Will and Harry would follow him anywhere. Five years later, in 1921, Edie, Francis' wife, has accepted that Francis' status as 'missing in action' may very well be permanent. Then she receives a mysterious photograph of Francis in the post; reigniting her resolve to find him. Meanwhile, Harry has been hired by grieving families to provide what little closure he can by photographing gravesites throughout the country where he himself fought just four years prior. When Edie requests that he locate and photograph Francis' grave, Harry and Edie set out to discover the truth of what happened to Francis. When their paths converge, they uncover many startling truths that redefine their understanding of the past and plans for the future.
A truly beautiful story with complex, compelling and utterly realistic characters that find their way into the heart of the reader along the course of the story, Scott's meticulously researched debut breathes life into the world and lives of the characters; taking the reader on a cathartic and emotional story that will touch their heart and stay with them long after they turn the last page. Highly recommended for readers with an interest or passion for historical fiction and in particular the Battle of the Somme and World War I in general. Warnings should be heeded for graphic, war-related violence, descriptions and references to suicide and strong themes relating to mental health.