Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A week of Orange Wednesdays : The very thought of you (AlisoN)

I would probably have picked up The very thought of you by Rosie Alison in due course anyway, had it not been on the Orange longlist, since I generally like good novels set during the Second World War (there are a lot of "historical romances" out there for this period which I tend to avoid), but the list brought it to my attention rather sooner.

Set at Ashton Hall in Yorkshire, The very thought of you deals with the experiences of evacuees from London centring around the character of Anna, a young girl. However, it is not a straightforward evacuee story. The plot revoles more around deals with the couple who own Ashton Hall, Thomas and Elizabeth and their disintegrating, childless marriage. Anna becomes drawn into their lives, and the couple's relationship. There are also subplots featuring Anna's father who is away fighting, and Anna's mother who is trying to work out a new way of life on her own in London.

The events at Ashton Hall during the war turn out to have a profound influence on the rest of Anna's life, and we revisit her later, still trying to make sense of the things that happened then and the relationships formed.

It didn't grip me in the way that Hearts and Minds or This is how did (I'm sorry, I know I keep banging on about that), but it was a lovely read that didn't take too much effort and I warmly recommend it to all of you who enjoy Second World War fiction.


  1. As a lover of World War II fiction (that is not actually about the, you know, war part), I've been wanting this book for a while. Shame it wasn't better for you. :/

  2. Interesting post Verity - I haven't read this one but it brought to mind that there are some great short stories in "Good evening Mrs Craven" based on evacuation from the point of view of the people taking evacuees in.

    Thank you for sharing


  3. There seems to be a wealth of books out there from this era at the moment or perhaps I'm just noticing them. This is one that I'd like to read at some point and have bookmarked it so I don't forget, thanks Verity!

  4. I've read a lot of non-fiction about evacuees during WWII and had the chance to interview several as part of my studies, but I've read very little fiction about them. Don't think I'll be running out to find this book, but it sounds interesting enough that I'll probably read it eventually.

  5. Jenny - I think you will probably enjoy it. I did enjoy it, just didn't find it prize-material.

    Hannah - yes, I love those stories!

    Darlene - this is definitely one for you.

    Claire - your studies sound interesting if you get to interview evacuees! What was that for?

  6. I quite like the sound of this, thanks for the review!

  7. I am looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the lovely review.

  8. I'm dying to get my hands on this - I think it'd be the perfect follow-up to Doreen by Barbara Noble.


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