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Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lily from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventual Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lily from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front. Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lily is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lily’s dreams. She doesn’t care that Robbie grew up in poverty—she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lily is the most beautiful—and forbidden—woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he’s determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart. In a world divided by class, filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive. . . or will it become another casualty of this tragic war?


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Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lily from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventual Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lily from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front. Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lily is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lily’s dreams. She doesn’t care that Robbie grew up in poverty—she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lily is the most beautiful—and forbidden—woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he’s determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart. In a world divided by class, filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive. . . or will it become another casualty of this tragic war?

30 review for Somewhere in France

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yasmin

    Okay. No. Just no. I don't get how this happened. The book had so much potential. I mean come on, war, royal girl truck driver! The WAACs, Scottish surgeon of severely humble beginnings; the nonexistent 'self-made man.. you'd think it would be a good read. You'd think wrong. (Not so)Short pointers as to why this was so incredibly boring and uninspired: -Robbie. I think this is by far the worst romance novel hero I have encountered in a book these past 2 years. Robo Robbie: the emotionless piece of sh Okay. No. Just no. I don't get how this happened. The book had so much potential. I mean come on, war, royal girl truck driver! The WAACs, Scottish surgeon of severely humble beginnings; the nonexistent 'self-made man.. you'd think it would be a good read. You'd think wrong. (Not so)Short pointers as to why this was so incredibly boring and uninspired: -Robbie. I think this is by far the worst romance novel hero I have encountered in a book these past 2 years. Robo Robbie: the emotionless piece of shit clumsy ass boor/boar(both really). He loves her but her mother scares him. He's a self made man not ashamed of his background but he can't help but not be able to offer her himself. He's a brilliant surgeon, but he can't have her around because she distracts him. He's so considerate but he fucks her senseless when her brother's missing in action (conveniently also in Paris where there's no one to fire either of them). I don't get it. He's not likable. None of the shit he says is in the least romantic or even eloquent. He's not even endearingly clumsy; he's just fucking irritating. His thoughts are the worst stream of mental vomit you could ever encounter- Oh I want her. But her brother. But her mother. But my background. But my loins!. But the curl at the nape of her neck. BUT MY JOB AND MY BEAUTIFUL SURGEON HANDS. Oh look her brother's missing. Ugh I am unprepared for sex. YES her perverted friend delivers! Okay. we have to live for one day. But we're over. But just one day. FUCKING DIE ALREADY YOU FUCKING WOMAN. KILL HIM OFF, GET ANOTHER HERO QUICK, NO ONE WILL NOTICE. JUST SALVAGE THE STORY. - The sex scene. I think it was the most disturbing romantic scene I've read in a while. And if you know anything, you just know I DETEST written pornography under the pretense of a plot. I don't think it adds anything for the two main characters I'm trying to like to hump each other, lyrically moan and entwine fingers or body parts. It really really doesn't. It makes me like them less if anything. And makes me a lot more excited to write a shitty review. At any rate, that wasn't the problem here. The problem was his guidance throughout; seeing as she was a virgin and he just HAD to screw her then and there. Because I don't care to relive it, here are short snippets: "Just let it happen, Lilly. Let it happen." "I wear a cover to stop my seed from being in you so you don't fall pregnant." after they're done *"Lilly" "Yes?" "Thank you". HE THANKS HER. I mean we already know you're a crass asshole who just really needed to let off some steam because of all the gore you encounter, but seriously just a tiny bit of consideration/ thought before you speak. -The stumbling semblance of a dialogue. I don't even know how to explain how bad the dialogue was in this book. Why? just why? even the exchanged letters. WHO WRITES SHIT LIKE THIS. The only explanation for this is that the author probably knows a lot about the history of the time itself and associated detail and she just threw in some characters and a cheap plot to have an excuse to show off all the shit she knows about the war. -Lilly's "What? I mean...what?" She says this a lot. -The war. Well, okay. So, no one likes this war. It is obviously a lie. BUT LET'S ALL JOIN AND HELP THE SOLDIERS AND WIN THE WAR. Robbie hates everything and everyone but is a surgeon FOR KING AND COUNTRY. Lilly has self-fulfillment issues and hates having money, God knows why, GETS HERSELF EMANCIPATED AND BECOMES A TRUCK DRIVER even though she knows the war is wrong. FOR KING AND COUNTRY!(and screwing Scottish surgeons) -The night they screw.I have never,ever encountered a cheaper plot twist. Oh she gets a letter that her brother's missing SHE MUST TELL HIS FRIEND PERSONALLY wink wink. She fucking travels for an entire day to tell said friend in, conveniently, a Ritz double joined hotel room. They go out and talk about flying pigs and machine guns and drink for 3 hours and then suddenly all their previous concerns have evaporated. THE SOLUTION MUST LIE IN FUCKING! NOW! the missing brother, the previous disagreements, the lack of humor between them, the absolutely different backgrounds, the war, the fact that they probably just want fuck buddies for comfort ALL OF IT IS SOMEHOW GOING TO GET FIXED VIA SEX. and the ONLY obstacle is the condom of course. Sure. That sounds right about logical. I could go on forever. Actually no, like 5 more paragraphs or so, but the point is: the characters are uninteresting, the dialogue boring and cold, the plot twists so expected and mundane, the setting so full of potential yet so lacking in drive, the romance, God the romance is so bad it's ridiculous. The only thing I could imagine was two drunk idiots who probably stink and have lice (and there is nothing romantic about lice) breathing heavily in each other's faces and sharing spit at every turn. With a guy who probably has a big head (don't ask, I just feel like he has a sizable Scottish head)suffocating some young mess under him with the grace of a rapist because he has 'needs', not even bothering to explain to her the mechanism or confess his meager love or even offer marriage maybe?. The only thing I enjoyed about the book would probably be Edward. He has A SENSE OF HUMOR (no matter how scarce) but there's this lightness about him and the short moments he expresses interest in Charlotte(no matter how oblivious his sister is to everything). Thing is, I am just left with the conclusion that the only sane person in this book is her mother who really actually knew what she was talking about, regardless of the unreliable narrators that tell the story (Robbie/Lilly) who are probably just wrong, hormonal people. Read this or don't read this. I don't consider my opinion a valid one anyway, but there it is.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Prevost

    Oh my lord, how I loved this book!! Honestly, I don't even think I can summarize it or saying anything constructive about it besides, oh my lord I loved it. Every single word. Couldn't put it down, couldn't stop reading it. Just...amazing story. It was romantic and dramatic and everything a love story needs to be and was so honest about what a war is like. And Robbie was so...human. One second he was dreamy and wonderful, the next he was horrible at communicating and insecure about his roots. Love Oh my lord, how I loved this book!! Honestly, I don't even think I can summarize it or saying anything constructive about it besides, oh my lord I loved it. Every single word. Couldn't put it down, couldn't stop reading it. Just...amazing story. It was romantic and dramatic and everything a love story needs to be and was so honest about what a war is like. And Robbie was so...human. One second he was dreamy and wonderful, the next he was horrible at communicating and insecure about his roots. Love him. And Lillie is kick ass. Totally kick ass. Seriously...loved this book. I realize this is a horrible review that tells no one anything but this book is just...everything. Heart wrenching, romantic, sweet...everything. Read it. You won't regret it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*

    Setting: WWI England and France Steam factor: Med-Hot Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford has dreams that go way beyond the walls of her palatial home as well as the aristocratic life she has. With the country now on the verge of War, Elizabeth defies her mother and moves to London where she joins the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. While there she misses the confidences that she had shared with her brother's best friend Robert Fraser. Robert has become a Scottish surgeon and was not of Eliz Setting: WWI England and France Steam factor: Med-Hot Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford has dreams that go way beyond the walls of her palatial home as well as the aristocratic life she has. With the country now on the verge of War, Elizabeth defies her mother and moves to London where she joins the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. While there she misses the confidences that she had shared with her brother's best friend Robert Fraser. Robert has become a Scottish surgeon and was not of Elizabeth's class, but when they meet in France where Robert is stationed in a field hospital their connection rekindles. He admires her determination, but is fearful for her life and he vows to keep her safe even if Robert has to push her aside in order to do so. As for Elizabeth, will she let their love die or keep her hope for a future together alive through war time? Our heroine Elizabeth bravely defies all convention, by becoming an ambulance driver and leaving her class strictures far behind her. What a great story with what I found to be an accurate portrait of this era, from the stately British mansions to the horrors of the front line of war. A very touching and powerful novel and a great tribute I felt to all the brave men and women whose lives were caught up in the Great War. Somewhere in France had great realism to it and was filled with history, but that didn't take away from the romance between the two characters. A well balanced story all around and a enjoyable "couldn't put it down book!"

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erika Robuck

    From the opening pages, the vivid settings in SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE engage the imagination. We soon meet Lady Elizabeth and her aristocratic family, and see that this is a young woman suffocated by her station in life. Lady Elizabeth quickly becomes “Lilly” as she defies her parents and gives up her life of privilege to truly live. From learning to drive and working in London, to becoming an ambulance driver for the WAAC, Lily wins over men and women alike, and demonstrates that in spite of her she From the opening pages, the vivid settings in SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE engage the imagination. We soon meet Lady Elizabeth and her aristocratic family, and see that this is a young woman suffocated by her station in life. Lady Elizabeth quickly becomes “Lilly” as she defies her parents and gives up her life of privilege to truly live. From learning to drive and working in London, to becoming an ambulance driver for the WAAC, Lily wins over men and women alike, and demonstrates that in spite of her sheltered upbringing, she is strong and capable. The plot moves with speed, brilliantly demonstrates the perils of falling in love during a time of war, and the characters’ growth and changes are believable and satisfying. If ATONEMENT and DOWNTON ABBEY had a child, SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE would be the result. Fans of the popular television series and historical fiction will devour this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    If you like romance novels, this will be an appealing book. I like historical fiction and non-fiction so I read the book. I have no real complaints about the book except that it is a romance novel. Of course I like a good romance woven between the pages of a good book with a strong primary story. The Great War and making something of oneself regardless of social and economic origin is a good primary story. I've read other books on this war with a little romance sprinkled in that I liked better. If you like romance novels, this will be an appealing book. I like historical fiction and non-fiction so I read the book. I have no real complaints about the book except that it is a romance novel. Of course I like a good romance woven between the pages of a good book with a strong primary story. The Great War and making something of oneself regardless of social and economic origin is a good primary story. I've read other books on this war with a little romance sprinkled in that I liked better. This book gives a good description of the horrors of war and working in a triage hospital. It also provides plenty of description of a romance that leaves very little to the imagination. I'm not criticizing, I'm just saying that I don't purposely pursue romance novels. If you like romance novels, the historical fiction aspect will add interest. That's all I'm saying. http://amusingreviews.blogspot.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Les Romantiques

    2.5 stars Posted on Les Romantiques - Le forum du site Reviewed by Agnès Review Copy from the Publisher Somewhere in France is Jennifer Robson’s first novel. She is the daughter of Stuart Robson, an historian. It was the historical background that piqued my interest: the First World War, which we will probably see more of in the years to come, due to the centenary commemorations. And let’s not forget the ever growing success of the Downton Abbey TV series, which renewed the interest in this time per 2.5 stars Posted on Les Romantiques - Le forum du site Reviewed by Agnès Review Copy from the Publisher Somewhere in France is Jennifer Robson’s first novel. She is the daughter of Stuart Robson, an historian. It was the historical background that piqued my interest: the First World War, which we will probably see more of in the years to come, due to the centenary commemorations. And let’s not forget the ever growing success of the Downton Abbey TV series, which renewed the interest in this time period. Somewhere in France is a pleasant enough read, the beginning is promising, but sadly it never rises above an honest story. I had a rather good time but thought all the way : what a pity, it could have been so much better ! My first problem is that the author never really chose a genre. Somewhere in France reads like Women’s fiction, Jennifer Robson herself calls it “Lilly’s story” in the acknowledgments, but it’s structured like a romance, with a central love story, the point of view of the hero and a detailed sex scene, as can be found in romance only. This kind of in-between situation makes the book neither an engaging romance, nor a good Women’s fiction. It’s not an engaging romance because there is no suspense concerning their feelings, nor any evolution: they love each other from the start, the readers know it, the secondary characters know it, the only idiots who don’t are the hero and heroine. And as they never speak about their feelings, they spend the whole book thinking : he doesn’t love me, I’m not interesting enough for him, he is such a great guy ; she doesn’t love me, I have nothing to offer her, she’s such a great girl. For a romance reader, it’s just infuriating. One would think that, considering the very extreme situation created by war, that rather uninteresting stage of their relationship would quickly be dealt with and forgotten. But it drags on until the very end. It is not a good Women’s fiction either, because there is no real evolution of the characters. Lilly is at first a useless aristocrat who dreams of finding a purpose in life by “serving her country”. At the end she knows how to drive and has served behind the front lines, but her only goal remains “to do her duty”, as she tells the hero near the end of the book. It seems to me that cataclysmic events such as the First World War changed far more radically the men and women who were dragged into their maelstrom. The characters’ psychology is far too linear, if one considers what they are supposed to have lived through. My second problem is the lack of realism and emotion. The heroes work in a field hospital, we see terrible wounds and deaths, but in a detached way. The dead are unknown to us, very young men, that’s as far as the author will go to engage our feelings. Nobody dies who is close to our heroes, not even a small secondary character the reader came to know. It’s a very clean version of war, one where people do suffer, but never people we know, whose fate is of any importance to us. It all happens to “others”. Then there is the field hospital where the heroes work, it remains in the exact same place for more than a year. So does the Casualty clearing station. The brother of the heroine, an officer who serves in the tranches, is also posted at the same spot during this long period of time. I’m ill at ease here, because the author did a lot of research, her father is an historian, she seems quite familiar with the First World War. I, on the other hand, am not a great specialist, but it seems to me that soldiers didn’t stay for months at the same place (especially in 1917, when the mutinies took place) in order to avoid discouragement and fraternization with the enemy. As for the field hospitals, I think they followed the offensives too. The author’s depiction seemed to me far too static and orderly, once more a clean war, rather unrealistic. You’ll say: no romance, no character’s evolution, no historical realism, what’s left in this novel ? Descriptions which, in the end, grow a bit tedious of what they eat, what they wear, an improvised dance gathering, the daily care for the ambulances, a day off in Paris. All things that, given the dramatic context, should be of no importance to the characters… or should they? In the wonderful novel All quiet on the west front by Erich Maria Remarque, the author shows us how soldiers in the tranches clung to this kind of small things to avoid losing their minds. I remember crying over a scene where the hero receives biscuits from his mother and remembers how they tasted before the horror. The comparison is not in favor of Somewhere in France. Sébastien Japrisot’s A very long engagement also comes to mind, a wonderful love story set during and after the First World War, that shows how the conflict heightened the emotions and feelings. Compared to these two novels, Somewhere in France reminds me of these old Hollywood movies where the actors played in front of a screen with a flick behind them. Lilly and Robbie’s story is played in front of a white sheet with images of the First World War behind them, and it’s sadly not very captivating. Then there are French sentences… French readers know what I mean… they are of course a little bit off. When English people are supposed to say them, it’s not that important. Even though Jennifer Robson insists that Lilly speaks a « flawless French ». But when French characters speak like Google translation, it’s a little bit more problematic… lol If you love a First World War setting, are in the middle of a withdrawal crisis from Downton Abbey or feel like an uncomplicated little story, you might try Somewhere in France. It’s a pleasant read, but sadly not one to remember.

  7. 5 out of 5

    MAP

    If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be "predictable." It feels like this book was trying to be a hard hitting, gritty, no sugar-coating exploration of WWI, with a romance to serve as the catalyst for the plot, but ultimately the romance overwhelmed the war and the book couldn't quite make itself go all the way with describing the horrors of trench warfare. Let me put it this way: Warhorse was less sugary-sweet and more raw and stomach-churning than this book. I dare an author to wri If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be "predictable." It feels like this book was trying to be a hard hitting, gritty, no sugar-coating exploration of WWI, with a romance to serve as the catalyst for the plot, but ultimately the romance overwhelmed the war and the book couldn't quite make itself go all the way with describing the horrors of trench warfare. Let me put it this way: Warhorse was less sugary-sweet and more raw and stomach-churning than this book. I dare an author to write a piece of historical fiction with a female protagonist where the driving plot ISN'T romance. I DARE you.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Celli

    This is more of a 1 1/2 stars than a 2. This book started out as a very sweet love story. I anticipated that it would be a contrived sweet little love story but it turned out to be a pretty lame one. A very typical story but not at all realistic. Lilly is sweet and naive and a little pathetic. 2/3 of the book is "I love her but I must not" and a whole lot of a useless lead up to an even more useless sex scene. The ending is quite abrupt and left me with some questions. This was extremely frustra This is more of a 1 1/2 stars than a 2. This book started out as a very sweet love story. I anticipated that it would be a contrived sweet little love story but it turned out to be a pretty lame one. A very typical story but not at all realistic. Lilly is sweet and naive and a little pathetic. 2/3 of the book is "I love her but I must not" and a whole lot of a useless lead up to an even more useless sex scene. The ending is quite abrupt and left me with some questions. This was extremely frustrating when everything else in the book was OVER explained. I don't read romance novels but I imagine this is how a romance novel of the early 1900's would read... In the end, it wasn't worth it. Don't waste your time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    KOMET

    This novel has a certain Downton Abbeyesque quality to it, beginning in July 1914 as Europe stood poised on the precipice of no-return, pending the resolution of "that damn fool thing in the Balkans." Lady Elizabeth ("Lilly"), the youngest daughter of a wealthy and influential family boasting of an earl as head of the manor, was in the midst of a social gathering, complete with orchestra, at her parents' home in Belgrave Square, London, where she espied an old friend of her brother Edward's from This novel has a certain Downton Abbeyesque quality to it, beginning in July 1914 as Europe stood poised on the precipice of no-return, pending the resolution of "that damn fool thing in the Balkans." Lady Elizabeth ("Lilly"), the youngest daughter of a wealthy and influential family boasting of an earl as head of the manor, was in the midst of a social gathering, complete with orchestra, at her parents' home in Belgrave Square, London, where she espied an old friend of her brother Edward's from Oxford. She had last seen him 7 years earlier, when she was a freckled-faced 13-year old. Edward had brought Robert Fraser ("Robbie") home to meet the family during Easter weekend. Lilly's parents had not found favor with him. They were "appalled that Edward would choose to associate with the son of a Glaswegian dustman. But Edward had insisted on bringing his friend to Cumbermere Hall for the holiday, and what her brother wanted he very nearly always got." To Lilly, Robbie, who had been working in London as a surgeon for the last 6 years, cut a striking figure. "He was as fair as ever, his hair the color of honey, and his eyes were the same bright blue of her memories." Formal attire suited Robbie well. She extended a hand in greeting him. At first, he didn't recognize Lilly straightaway. But soon enough, the dim light of recognition lit up in Robbie's mind after Lilly told him that she was Edward's youngest sister. Not wanting to be too conspicuous and to escape her mother's scrutiny and determination to use this event for a proper matchmaking for her, Lilly guided Robbie to a quiet corner of a drawing room where they could talk without being observed. They had a pleasant, engaging conversation in which Robbie told Lilly about his work in the hospital. She in turn, confided in Robbie about her desire to lead a more independent life for herself, travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. Robbie seemed different than most men she knew, for he listened patiently and sympathetically to her. Not in a patronizing way as most men of her class would in indulging themselves in what they regarded as the foolish whims of a woman. After all, a woman's lot was to marry well and have a family. Alas, Lilly and Robbie were found out by her mother, who had a prospective fiance in tow, a rather boorish fellow named Fitzallen-Carr. Lilly was thus led away to the dance, while her mother had it out with Robbie, who soon left. A short time later, war erupts in Europe and men rush off to join the ranks. Edward, not to be outdone, is elevated to officer status and is soon training with a unit made up men and boys from various social strata he has known all his life. Robbie goes into the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) as a surgeon and is posted within the first month of war to a hospital near Versailles. Lilly is restless, wanting to be useful to the war effort, but not knowing what she can do, for she lacks qualifications, having been taught at home by a governess. Through her brother Edward, she obtains Robbie's address, and thus begins a correspondence with him that lasts for 2 years. In that time, in a bid to be independent, Lilly secretly learns to drive, strip gears and fix motors, and provide maintenance for trucks. In the process, her correspondence with Robbie is found out by her mother. Lilly has a row with her parents - who cut her off completely - and goes off to live with her friend Charlotte in another part of the city. She eventually finds work in local transport and manages to meet Robbie in a small restaurant when he's able to take leave. This was in October 1916. Through fits and starts, a romance slowly begins to blossom, by degrees, between them. A real slow burner, for both outwardly assert themselves to each other as no more than the best of friends. (Deep down inside, the attraction grows between them.) Over Christmas, Lilly and Charlotte have lunch with Edward, who is on leave, at a swanky London restaurant. Lilly tells Edward of her desire to want to be more directly involved in the war effort. This is when he discloses to Lilly that, in the New Year, the Army would be establishing a Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) in which women --- once properly trained --- would drive and maintain ambulance trucks near the Front, assisting in bringing back wounded soldiers to casualty clearing stations (CCS) - like the one where Robbie was now serving - where they could receive prompt, life-saving treatment. By the following spring, Lilly manages to gain acceptance into the WAACs, receives 3 months of training in the UK, and in July 1917, in response to an urgent need for ambulance drivers near the Front, volunteers with a number of her friends for duty in France. Here is where the suspense value, hints, intimations and stirrings of romance in the novel blaze forth. I won't say anything more because that would be throwing in a lot of spoilers. But I will say that "SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE" was a novel I could not put aside til I read it in full. Not only does it give the reader a tangible feel of what it was like to maintain and drive ambulance trucks to and from the Front, sometimes risking destruction from distant shell fire, it also gave me a deep appreciation for the work carried out under the most dire of conditions for the surgeons and nurses who sought to patch up and save as many of the wounded as they could. This novel is A WINNER. The first in a trilogy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Giving away a 1 copy to the luck winner on my blog. Contest runs until January 21st, 2014. Fantastic! Super excited to hear that the author is writing a follow up. 2015 why are you so far away? Robson captures the realities of war, while balancing that out with a lovely romance. Absolutely loved it! Full review closer to pub date... Edit - Dec 29th, 2013: Somewhere in France is a historical novel set during the turbulent times of the First World War. While romance was a significant part in the nov Giving away a 1 copy to the luck winner on my blog. Contest runs until January 21st, 2014. Fantastic! Super excited to hear that the author is writing a follow up. 2015 why are you so far away? Robson captures the realities of war, while balancing that out with a lovely romance. Absolutely loved it! Full review closer to pub date... Edit - Dec 29th, 2013: Somewhere in France is a historical novel set during the turbulent times of the First World War. While romance was a significant part in the novel, the historical detail and realities of daily life during wartime made this far more than a romance. I read the entire novel in one sitting and I can’t wait for more from this debut novelist. Somewhere in France was lovely, harsh and optimist all at once, and I recommend it to historical fiction fans that are interested in this period in history. I cannot express how much I loved Somewhere in France! This was a thoroughly engrossing read, and I couldn’t put it down. I was initially intrigued because of the romance aspect to the novel, but there was some much more to this story than an unlikely romance between the social classes. The historical details were fantastic. We didn’t get a romanticized version of Lily’s experiences during her time as an ambulance driver. She was confronted with the effects of war, the destroyed bodies of the soldiers that she transported to the hospital. She also had to deal with the everyday hardships of no rest, no bathing, catching lice, and living without the luxuries that she used to. I felt that we really got a picture of what life was like for those supporting the soldiers on the front lines, and it was completely fascinating. I don’t really think these support workers are considered all that often, so it was an interesting change. I also liked the fact that Lily was an ambulance driver rather than a nurse, which is what you might expect to see. But because of Lily’s upbringing and her lack of education, she wasn’t qualified to be a nurse. Even being an ambulance driver meant that Lily had to learn to drive, something she had never done before. Lily was really a fascinating character in the novel. She had a luxurious upbringing and gave it all up to follow her dreams. While it wasn’t always easy for her to do without, she eventually came to terms with it because it finally meant that she was doing something worthwhile. I think the author handled this transformation within Lily well, and I believed that someone as sheltered as Lily had been could become the competent and confident young woman that she was by the end of the novel. As for the romance between Lily and Robbie, it really was swoon worthy in a sweet sort of way. The romance didn’t overpower the novel, but complimented the wartime atmosphere. I liked the fact that Lilly and Robbie had already known one another as children, otherwise I would have been tempted to believe that they were swept away in a romance that was started by the wartime atmosphere, but would ultimately not have had much substance. Instead, Lily and Robbie know each other, they knew each other’s history and dreams, and it made their relationship all the more endearing. To sum it up, historical fiction fans need to read Somewhere in France. It was a fantastic read and anyone who enjoys a highly atmospheric setting with a good helping of romance will love this one. This period in history is tragic, but it’s also compelling. Robson is writing a follow-up to be published in 2015 and I can only hope that it will feature a romance between Charlotte and Lily’s viscount brother, Edward. I feel like Somewhere in France was hinting at this relationship, and I would like to be proven correct. For full review and read-alikes, see The Book Adventures. *Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    I've had good luck these past few months with some wonderful debut novels by some very promising authors. Jennifer Robson's first novel, Somewhere in France, keeps that streak alive and well. It is being touted in the promotional material as a book fans of Downton Abbey will love. I find that characterization a bit limiting. If you like good historical fiction with strong, able characters and an exciting, perilous setting with a believable love story thrown in for good measure, you will love Som I've had good luck these past few months with some wonderful debut novels by some very promising authors. Jennifer Robson's first novel, Somewhere in France, keeps that streak alive and well. It is being touted in the promotional material as a book fans of Downton Abbey will love. I find that characterization a bit limiting. If you like good historical fiction with strong, able characters and an exciting, perilous setting with a believable love story thrown in for good measure, you will love Somewhere in France, even if you have yet to watch an episode of Downton. The only similarities between this novel and that series are the general time period, the Great War (which lasted less than a season in Downton time), and one character from an aristocratic background who yearns to make a contribution and decides to move beyond the role to which society has assigned her. That would be about it. Yes, the Downton allure may be a strong one, but this novel can stand (and sell) all on its own. Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford has always felt like there should be more to her life than a debutante season and marriage shortly thereafter. As a young girl, she meets her brother Edward's school friend, Robbie Fraser, and she first reveals to him her desire for a stronger education. Robbie encourages her to pursue her dream. Years later, as war bears down on them, they meet again at a ton ball. Attracted to the woman Lilly has become, Robbie, now an accomplished surgeon, once again encourages her to follow her aspirations to do something worthwhile with her life. What Robbie doesn't expect is for Lilly to volunteer as an ambulance driver and plunge herself into the turmoil and peril that is France and the Western Front during the Great War. Finding themselves in close proximity at the same Casualty Clearing Station, Robbie, now a field surgeon, must set aside his feelings and fear for Lilly if he is to do his job without distraction. Lilly, angry and confused, and constrained by the strict rules against fraternization, has no choice but to try to forget Robbie; ignore him as he has chosen to ignore her. Until the horrors of war touch them both, and everything changes. Somewhere in France is a story as much or more about relationships and loyalty as it is about the changing mores of the time period in which it is written; Lilly and Edward; Edward and Robbie, Robbie and Lilly, their lives all circle around each other, against the ever present backdrop and horrors of war. Ms. Robson's secondary characters add a dimension to the story that reveals just how far Lilly has traveled from the persona of an earl's cossetted daughter. It's quite a transformation, and it's only one facet of the novel that grabs the reader's interest and doesn't let go. I really hope the wait will not be long until Ms. Robson's second effort. Intelligently written, beautifully descriptive and fast-paced, Somewhere in France will appeal to Downton fans, but everyone who reads it, Downton fan or not, will love it. Highly recommend. A review copy was supplied by the publisher.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    Set in WW1, the book revolves around an aristocrat who becomes an ambulance driver with the Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps and her love interest, a self-made surgeon from the Glasgow slums. Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War had the potential to be an interesting book. The Great War caused a lot of social change; woman took on roles usually filled by men and the line between aristocracy and commoner began to blur. I believe that was the point the author attempted to make and did with so Set in WW1, the book revolves around an aristocrat who becomes an ambulance driver with the Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps and her love interest, a self-made surgeon from the Glasgow slums. Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War had the potential to be an interesting book. The Great War caused a lot of social change; woman took on roles usually filled by men and the line between aristocracy and commoner began to blur. I believe that was the point the author attempted to make and did with some success. However, it was the romance between the characters that took away from the story. For one thing, I did not care for Lily. She bored me. Robbie, was O.K., but weak and indecisive. Therefore, I did not care what happened to them. This left me wanting more about the turbulence of the time, social upheaval, the harrowing experiences of doctors and nurses in field hospitals and of course the WAAC. This was more of a romance novel, and while those things were explored, weren't really in depth. If you want a period romance with eh characters, then read this one. If you want romance and an in-depth portrayal of the times read The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    After my last WWI novel was such a dud, at least for me, I was rather loath to begin Somewhere in France. Though I was interested when I signed up for the tour, by the time the book arrived, I was not in the mood. I say this to explain that the cards were stacked against this book, but it charmed me utterly, despite me not being in the mood for WWI fiction or adult fiction in general when I picked it up. That’s the best compliment I can pay to Robson’s debut. Read the full review at A Reader of F After my last WWI novel was such a dud, at least for me, I was rather loath to begin Somewhere in France. Though I was interested when I signed up for the tour, by the time the book arrived, I was not in the mood. I say this to explain that the cards were stacked against this book, but it charmed me utterly, despite me not being in the mood for WWI fiction or adult fiction in general when I picked it up. That’s the best compliment I can pay to Robson’s debut. Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    ”Now men will go content with what we spoiled, Or, discontent, boil blood, and be spilled. They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress. None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress” I’m a sucker for romances set during the World Wars (I don’t know why), and this book perfectly quenched my thirst. Elizabeth “Lily” Neville Ashford is a pampered and privileged girl from an aristocratic family. She’s expected to attend her coming out ball, find an eligible (albeit rich), bachelor, ”Now men will go content with what we spoiled, Or, discontent, boil blood, and be spilled. They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress. None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress” I’m a sucker for romances set during the World Wars (I don’t know why), and this book perfectly quenched my thirst. Elizabeth “Lily” Neville Ashford is a pampered and privileged girl from an aristocratic family. She’s expected to attend her coming out ball, find an eligible (albeit rich), bachelor, get married, and have loads of babies. But that’s not what she wants. She wants a career, adventure, and excitement, even though it’s horribly taboo for a lady to even think of such things. ”She’d confided to him her dreams for her future, her eyes bright with delight and anticipation. She had talked excitedly of Marie Curie, Elizabeth Garrett Anserson, Beatrice Webb. She had told him that she planned to travel the world, attend university, and then become a scientist, or perhaps a crusading journalist; she hadn’t yet made up her mind. But girls like Lilly didn’t go to school. They didn’t go on adventures and they didn’t grow up to be woman like Marie Curie. They made their debut, they married, they had children, and that was more or less it.” And an arranged marriage doesn’t sound that appealing either, especially since she already has her eye on someone; Robert Fraser, her brother’s friend. But he’s a poor Scottish boy who’s only a doctor, not the aristocrat her parents want. So she cuts ties to her past, joins the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and becomes an ambulance driver. What she doesn’t expect Is the war that looms just around the corner. This book perfectly blends war and romance to create the almost perfect concoction. Lilly is spunky, spirited, and independent, and you’ll really root for her to succeed in the novel. Her newfangled ideas don’t sit well with her parents (whom you’ll absolutely despise for pretty much the entire novel). And despite the romance between her and Robert being utterly swoonworthy, the author doesn’t shy away from the horrors the war brought to all those who served, directly and indirectly. Robert Fraser is the object of Lily’s affections. A sweet Scottish lad that comes from a large family, he’s worked his way up to become an army doctor. He’s best friends with her brother Robert and never really noticed Lilly before until her coming out party. But once he catches a glimpse of her he’s totally lost. ”The Lilly he’d known then had been all freckles and pigtails, elbows and knees, hesitant and gangly and endearingly unpretentious. If he’d ever thought of her in the intervening years, it was as that awkward child. Never like this. Never as a woman grown, a woman so beautiful she stole the breath from his lungs.” Just picture Sam Heughan with blonde hair and you’ll have Robbie Fraser. Their romance was sweet, tender, and everything I expected it to be. Except for one moment, that is… For in this book, you’ll be treated to what is quite possibly the most awkward sex scene of all time. Oh, my sweet baby Jesus it was awkward. Instead of leaving you breathless, you’ll be shifting awkwardly in your seat trying not cringe at the utter humiliation of it all. I mean hey; I’m glad the author showed that the first time is not magical and glorious for everyone, but good heavens it wasn’t that fun to read about either. Despite that moment of awkwardness, this book is the perfect antidote for those who want to have a WWI book filled with action, adventure, and romance. **But seriously, can we get Sam to play this guy in a future film. Pretty please?**

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shoshanah

    I'm almost afraid to start this review because it's another that I can't imagine I'll do justice to. Reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I stayed up late to read it, but even more impressive (since I can't ever remember doing this!) I woke up early to keep reading it. That night I dreamed of the book, and that day I couldn't help but relive specific scenes over and over in my head. And don't ask my husband about the lunch we had together where I ignored him because I HAD to keep reading. I'm almost afraid to start this review because it's another that I can't imagine I'll do justice to. Reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I stayed up late to read it, but even more impressive (since I can't ever remember doing this!) I woke up early to keep reading it. That night I dreamed of the book, and that day I couldn't help but relive specific scenes over and over in my head. And don't ask my husband about the lunch we had together where I ignored him because I HAD to keep reading. As soon as I finished it, I was ready to turn it over and start from page 1. Lily Ashford is the daughter of The Earl and Countess of Cumberland. Her mother wants nothing more than for her to be settled and married, but when war breaks out Lily feels a call to do something more. She leaves her home, family, and all she knows and winds up in France to serving as an ambulance driver for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. This is also the story of Robert Fraser, the son of a dustman and a laundress, who goes on scholarship to Oxford and works hard to become a surgeon. While most of the story is told from Lily's point of view, they are a few chapters where we hear from Robbie and those were my favorite. I feel like I haven't read a lot of books that take place during WWI. And yet that isn't quite true because some of my favorite series growing up, The Betsy-Tacy Series, Anne of Green Gables, and The All-of-a-Kind Family, all end with a book that takes place during The Great War. But this is the first one I remember reading as a "grown-up," and one where it's a single book instead of the end of a series. In case you couldn't already tell, I absolutely loved this book, and have a feeling it will be one that stays with me for a while. I did read that the author is planning a follow-up to this for 2015, and while this book doesn't need a sequel and I'd be more than happy with just this single book, I can't wait to be able to check in on Lily and Robbie. Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Oooh yes. A very good WWI book and a nice romance. So glad I finally started reading Robson.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara Chevrestt

    As I read this, I was reminded of Dowtown Abbey, most probably because I recently caught season one. But this heroine, Lily, so reminds me of Sybil. Now, remember, I've only watched season one, but I see in this book and in that season of DA, the tiniest little crack between aristocracy and "the working class". During this time period, the Great War, that crack came to be. Aristocrats such as Lily wanted to make a difference, realized how trivial and silly and spoiled their lives were. Some wante As I read this, I was reminded of Dowtown Abbey, most probably because I recently caught season one. But this heroine, Lily, so reminds me of Sybil. Now, remember, I've only watched season one, but I see in this book and in that season of DA, the tiniest little crack between aristocracy and "the working class". During this time period, the Great War, that crack came to be. Aristocrats such as Lily wanted to make a difference, realized how trivial and silly and spoiled their lives were. Some wanted to work. Lily is expected to marry well and as the Dowager on DA would say, "You cannot have opinions until you are married. Once you are married, your husband will tell you what your opinions are!" Or something like that. That's the kind of family Lily comes from and she rebels and she joins the WAACs and becomes an ambulance driver in France. Not many young ladies would leave a life of kept luxury and wealth to drive a lorry or ambulance in a muddy war zone. I really liked and admired Lily as I read. I enjoyed reading every bit of her experience as she steps over that crack, ditches her title, lives on pennies, works for a bus line, interviews with the WAACs, helps train her comrades, goes to France. I enjoyed every moment. I enjoyed watching her realize all she'd taken for granted, the way she'd appreciate a hot bath, a cup of tea. And yes, she has a romance with her brother's best friend, a doctor. This was...okay. I liked him at times; didn't like him at others. I became a tad uncomfortable when they hooked up in the room her missing brother paid for. It felt to me a highly inappropriate time for that. It did not feel as though they were coming together in grief. I certainly think a telegram would have sufficed. I even liked their letters to and from each other. I thought it quite cute when even though they were stationed at the same place, he wanted a letter from her, as they weren't allowed to speak. This was a sweet romance. I have to say, however, there was an odd disconnect of sorts with the war itself. I kept thinking of what all an ambulance driver during that time would see, the soldiers she may accidentally bond with, the pain she may feel upon their passing, and yet, there were no side stories involving these men. We didn't meet or get to know any wounded, which is odd as this is a hospital. I'd have appreciated some stories involving the patients and soldiers. Her brother was a character, but we learned so little of what he was facing. Just brief snippets. Full review: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2013/...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Set during WWI, Lilly, Lady Elizabeth, desires independence, education and the freedom to choose the man she marries. Realizing her sheltered, cultured life and the traditions upheld by her family leave her few options. She is infatuated by her brother Edward's best friend Robbie. Robbie, having grown up in the slums in Scotland is considered unsuitable by her parents. Robbie has worked hard and found the means to be educated and trained to become a surgeon. Unbeknownst to her parents, Lilly lea Set during WWI, Lilly, Lady Elizabeth, desires independence, education and the freedom to choose the man she marries. Realizing her sheltered, cultured life and the traditions upheld by her family leave her few options. She is infatuated by her brother Edward's best friend Robbie. Robbie, having grown up in the slums in Scotland is considered unsuitable by her parents. Robbie has worked hard and found the means to be educated and trained to become a surgeon. Unbeknownst to her parents, Lilly learns to drive and is corresponding with Robbie. When they learn of her betrayal they dismiss the long time servant who taught Lilly to drive. She also discovers they have been intercepting her letters from Robbie. Lilly leaves home and moves in with her former governess. When the opportunity to join the WAAC presents itself. Lilly volunteers to be an ambulance driver. Using her influence she is assigned to the field hospital where Robbie is stationed. They must keep their involvement a secret and Robbie finds the distraction of Lilly too much. He pushes her away and begs her to be reassigned to a safe post. Lilly feels her service too important and stays. She has also formed deep friendships and proven herself competent. When Edward goes missing she and Robbie find themselves together in Paris. Are they meant to be together? Both World Wars have fostered greater freedoms for women and proven the strength and fortitude women have always possessed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen Milligan

    This is an incredibly well written, historically accurate and moving novel. It was wonderful to have a novel created around the female experience during the great war. I loved the idea that the protagonist was an ambulance driver. So refreshing vs being a nurse. The developing love relationship was also moving and I honestly couldn't put the book down; I had to find out what happened. I certainly hope that this is a series, I can't wait for Jennifer Robson's next book. And, for those who love Do This is an incredibly well written, historically accurate and moving novel. It was wonderful to have a novel created around the female experience during the great war. I loved the idea that the protagonist was an ambulance driver. So refreshing vs being a nurse. The developing love relationship was also moving and I honestly couldn't put the book down; I had to find out what happened. I certainly hope that this is a series, I can't wait for Jennifer Robson's next book. And, for those who love Downton Abbey, this is a book for you.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I LOVED this book! I sat down to start reading it at 7:30 one night and it was so good that I finished it before midnight. It had just the right amount of romance balanced with lots of great historical facts. I even learned a few new terms :). The author did a wonderful job of weaving personal relationships within the historical narrative. I am looking forward to reading more from this author!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    What we have here is basically a WWI romance novel, so if you enjoy reading that type of book, this one will please you. For my taste, it was a little too sentimental, but even so, I enjoyed the story about a titled English lady who worked as an ambulance driver on the French front and the modestly born Scotish surgeon who stole her heart. ***1/2

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jane LaFazio

    I didn’t finish it. Stopped at page 245 of 360 pages. I enjoyed the part about her job during the war, but the insipid love story was too Harlequin romance for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    With war looming, Lilly Ashford longs to do her part. The daughter of an earl, she's been raised to accomplish nothing more than land a worthy husband. But that's not the life Lilly wants. She wanted to travel and to learn. Unfortunately Lilly's own hopes have been hampered by her mother's restrictions and her family's expectations. And so she takes matters into her own hands, first learning to drive and then breaking with her family to set off on her own. With the urging of her brother and his With war looming, Lilly Ashford longs to do her part. The daughter of an earl, she's been raised to accomplish nothing more than land a worthy husband. But that's not the life Lilly wants. She wanted to travel and to learn. Unfortunately Lilly's own hopes have been hampered by her mother's restrictions and her family's expectations. And so she takes matters into her own hands, first learning to drive and then breaking with her family to set off on her own. With the urging of her brother and his best friend, Robbie, Lilly applies for work with the newly appointed WAAC - Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Lilly is quickly drafted to the ambulance drivers' pool and sent to the front where she shuttles injured men to the local trauma center. Her job has her working alongside Robbie and their friendship quickly becomes something more. But Robbie is terrified of having Lilly so close to danger. I quite enjoyed Jennifer Robson's debut. It was a bit lighter than I'd expected, which I know some readers have not particularly liked about the book. With two leading characters both sitting on the front lines of a brutal war, there's very little of the actual horrors of said war described in the book. Robson does discuss them but doesn't really delve into them very deeply. It's actually not something that bothered me as a reader but I do like to see what others are saying about books and it's something I've noticed popping up. In reading these comments, though, it struck me that there is likely a much larger readership that would enjoy Robson's book all the better for this. More graphic and tragic descriptions of such an event would otherwise turn off the readers I think are prone to shy away from such a thing whereas Robson's approach, which is basically a love story set around the war and the social changes that it brought about, likely makes it a more appealing historical novel for a broader audience. If you're looking for more on the brutalities and horrors of WWI I'd suggest reading Remarque's ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT but if you enjoyed Phillip Rock's recently rereleased Passing Bells trilogy, as I did, I definitely recommend Robson. The author has obviously gone to great lengths to ensure historical accuracy and it is apparent in the reading. Women's roles in WWI are particularly interesting and not something I've read much on before now. The WAAC is most prevalent here but the author does include other avenues through which women helped the war effort as well. According to her website, Robson is working on a follow up to SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE. I'll be very much looking forward to this. It looks as though Charlotte will be front and center as well, which makes me even more excited about the book. Charlotte is a bit of a side character in SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE, Lilly's former tutor and a friend who also supports her in joining the war effort. It's through Charlotte that we get a glimpse of the other roles women played in the efforts back at home.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford has always thought fondly of her bother’s friend Robert since as a child he encouraged her to pursue her dreams. A surprise meeting years later reveals him to still be equally supportive and their mutual attraction is obvious. However, Elizabeth’s mother disapproves of Robert almost as much as she disapproves of Elizabeth’s career aspirations. The war and encouragement from friends give Elizabeth the courage to break with her parents. As an ambulance driver she is Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford has always thought fondly of her bother’s friend Robert since as a child he encouraged her to pursue her dreams. A surprise meeting years later reveals him to still be equally supportive and their mutual attraction is obvious. However, Elizabeth’s mother disapproves of Robert almost as much as she disapproves of Elizabeth’s career aspirations. The war and encouragement from friends give Elizabeth the courage to break with her parents. As an ambulance driver she is eventually sent to the front, where she is reunited with Robert (a surgeon). Although they are reunited, his fear for her safety is a strain their relationship might not survive. Even in historical fiction, I feel like most readers want female characters to behave like modern women. I personally find it unpleasant to read a book like Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival which doesn’t at least condemn the sexism of the time period. In many time periods though, I suspect it was unusual for a woman to successfully resist seixst social pressures. That is one reason why Jennifer Robson’s choice of setting is so perfect. It is clear that many women are beginning to have the freedom to attend school, have careers, and marry who they like. A woman from an old fashioned family might have to fight for those privileges. She also might believably succeed. Watching Elizabeth do so was inspiring and a ton of fun. The romance, like Elizabeth’s personal story, was perfectly suited to the time period. Having to deal with the war and the social issues that might separate them made every happy moment of the relationship feel precious. The letters the characters exchanged were enjoyable and an integral part of the story’s success. In particular, they allow you to see Elizabeth and Robert’s relationship forming. At the end, you know why these characters love each other. In any genre, I think that’s a critical component of a well written romance. Descriptions of the war were also very well done. It was clear how horrible the war was. It was clear what a devastating effect it was having on the mental health of everyone involved. And both these things were accomplished without rubbing your face in gory details. This backdrop made the romance all the more moving. I think that makes this a spectacular example of a historical fiction romance. The romance personalized the time period and the romance couldn’t have happened at any other time. It was beautiful, poignant, and fit the time period perfectly. This review first published on Doing Dewey.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lyuda

    The story is much more than a romance. It's a vivid portrayal of horrors and devastation of war, of courage and determination of people fighting it. It is also a coming of age story, a metamorphosis of a timid girl who once looked as she'd jump at the sight of her own shadow to a strong, confident, brave woman. We first meet this girl, Lady Elizabeth (Lily), at the ball given in honor of her brother Edward and his fiancée. Attending the ball was Edward's best friend Robert Fraser. Lily only met The story is much more than a romance. It's a vivid portrayal of horrors and devastation of war, of courage and determination of people fighting it. It is also a coming of age story, a metamorphosis of a timid girl who once looked as she'd jump at the sight of her own shadow to a strong, confident, brave woman. We first meet this girl, Lady Elizabeth (Lily), at the ball given in honor of her brother Edward and his fiancée. Attending the ball was Edward's best friend Robert Fraser. Lily only met him once before, when her brother had invited his best friend from Oxford to stay for a long weekend. Meeting now, seven years later, delighted both of them and they felt an instant connection. This really didn't go well with Lily's domineering mother, the countess, who had one goal for Lily- marry her well to an eligible party. And Robert was definitely not it. Even though he is a brilliant doctor now, he is a son of a dustman and a laundress, born in a slum tenement in Glasgow, a man with no family, no fortune, no connection. Determine to break the budding romance on a spot, Lily's mother had concocted Lily's fiancé and successfully drove Robert away. Lily was devastated. Soon afterwards the World War I began turning Lily's misery to determination to be useful for her country. This determination eventually led her to sign up with motor transport division and after completing training the division was shipped to France. Robert and Lily met again at the front line hospital. There are more events and nuances to the story than I could possibly describe in the short review. I love that the book is written from both characters' POV. It allowed reader to be privy to their thoughts, internal struggles, love for each other. But at the end, after I finished the book, it is not the romance that stayed with me but a dramatic, masterful portrayal of wreckage and horror of war and the brave people who fought and endured it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What started as a pleasant enough overly romanticized story of WWI moved solidly into the realm of Romance--not my favorite genre. Instead of the war being the backdrop to the romance or a romance developing naturally in a war story, the war in this case was used as a plot device to bring the lovers together--which left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Lilly becomes an ambulance driver and then uses her position to get herself assigned to the area of Robbie, the man she desires. Then when her br What started as a pleasant enough overly romanticized story of WWI moved solidly into the realm of Romance--not my favorite genre. Instead of the war being the backdrop to the romance or a romance developing naturally in a war story, the war in this case was used as a plot device to bring the lovers together--which left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Lilly becomes an ambulance driver and then uses her position to get herself assigned to the area of Robbie, the man she desires. Then when her brother is MIA this is used for her to get into the same hotel room with Robbie. We then have 5 chapters of build up to the big Moment when unbelievably naïve Lilly is de-flowered. She has been working for a year as an ambulance driver at the front, for pity's sake, how could she not have seen a man's chest before? Lilly comes off as a naïve tease forcing Robbie into awkward situations, and Robbie himself sometimes acts like a sixteen year old. Now for the petty complaints. This book has more "respites" in it than is believable. Is there no other word to mean the same thing? And everyone seems to suffer from some kind of inflammation of the extremities, for they are always feeling badly. For a good war and love story with an ambulance driving heroine, watch Wings with Clara Bow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    EH....It was just OK. She was a strong character, but the whole thing just seemed "detached" from the whole concept of war. They're at a field hospital, but it's lacking in detail, other than her trying to do her job as an ambulance driver AND get the attention of the doctor she has followed there. And the man she has literally followed into a war zone (pulled strings and everything to get stationed at his field hospital)... He seems nice enough, but for a man who has risen up from poverty to bec EH....It was just OK. She was a strong character, but the whole thing just seemed "detached" from the whole concept of war. They're at a field hospital, but it's lacking in detail, other than her trying to do her job as an ambulance driver AND get the attention of the doctor she has followed there. And the man she has literally followed into a war zone (pulled strings and everything to get stationed at his field hospital)... He seems nice enough, but for a man who has risen up from poverty to become a gifted surgeon, he's not very confident. When they finally do get together, naturally at a romantic Ritz in Paris, I had to roll my eyes. It was cliche and cheesy. It does have a Downton Abbey vibe to it, because of the time period, but it was, again, just OK.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate Hilton

    Jennifer Robson is such a fluid, lovely writer that it is easy to miss the meticulous research in her novels. This is a gripping, suspenseful tale of love in a time of war, and of a culture on the edge of the modern age. Start with this novel and you'll have the pleasure of a sequel! Jennifer Robson is such a fluid, lovely writer that it is easy to miss the meticulous research in her novels. This is a gripping, suspenseful tale of love in a time of war, and of a culture on the edge of the modern age. Start with this novel and you'll have the pleasure of a sequel!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Loved, loved, loved this book! I love historical fiction and this book just swept me off my feet! It was so smooth. It wasn't always easy to read (the descriptions of a WWI field hospital were difficult) but it flowed and made me want to be a part of their story. Well done! Loved, loved, loved this book! I love historical fiction and this book just swept me off my feet! It was so smooth. It wasn't always easy to read (the descriptions of a WWI field hospital were difficult) but it flowed and made me want to be a part of their story. Well done!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emmy

    So good! I loved Lily and Robbie. It all felt so sincere and lovely. Wonderful writing. Just so enjoyable. Will try to write a real review at some point.

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