Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Book Review: TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS BY CAROL RIVERS


My Thoughts on this emotional warm-hearted festive story .......


TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS
BY
CAROL RIVERS


Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Published:  23 October 2014
Pages:  438  (Paperback)


August 1914, London. Britain has just declared war on Germany, and the whole country seems to be in uproar. Flora, Hilda and Will, who grew up together in St Boniface orphanage sit in the sunshine in Hyde Park on a rare day off, discussing the impending war and the changes it will bring to their lives. Will means to go off to fight, Hilda hopes to better her current lot in life as a maid at the charitable institute, Hailing House, but Flora is content with her job as assistant to the Isle of Dogs' kindly Doctor Tapper. Taking a vow, they pledge to always be there for each other, come what may.
It soon becomes clear that the war will not be over by Christmas, as so many thought, and the first zeppelin raids bring casualties flooding into the surgery where Flora works. Tragedy strikes in the trenches, too, and Will returns home with physical and mental wounds too deep for Flora to be able to nurse back to health.
In the meantime, Hilda has taken herself away from London to work as a maid at the sumptuous house of Adelphi. But it is not long before she finds herself out of her depth. And the consequences of her choices will lead to a shocking discovery that will change the course of the three orphans lives forever.

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I read Carol Rivers novel A Wartime Christmas last year and really enjoyed it, that was set in the 2nd World War, in Together for Christmas the story starts at the beginning of the 1st World War, and is just as heart-warming and entertaining.

We first meet Flora and Hilda in London's Hyde Park watching in disbelief as excited young men were revelling in the thought of joining the army and going off to war.

"Just look at them silly chaps!' exclaimed Hilda Jones, Flora's best friend. 'You'd think Britain had won the conflict already from the way they're carrying on. And it was only four days ago the prime minister announced we were at war!' 
'And now Mr. Asquith's calling for our boys to volunteer,' said Flora.  She was not for war at all, though watching the rejoicing crowds today it seemed that the rest of the country disagreed with her.

Sensible, kind, thoughtful Flora and flirtatious, impulsive Hilda have been best friends since they were children, brought up in the orphanage.  Both are now sixteen and having to make their own way in the world, Flora as a Doctor's assistant and Hilda who works in the kitchens of a big house though she has ambitions to be a lady's maid.

We see the harrowing effects of the war mainly through Flora's eyes as she and Dr. Tapper do their best to treat the soldiers suffering from shell shock, gas poisoning, dysentery, and the many life-changing injuries they've sustained.

And it's one of these soldiers that becomes smitten with Flora, so there's a nice little romance to lighten the dark subject matter.  

Hilda finds her life in service is challenging and busy, as so many of the men were at war the women had to take on their jobs so the way women's lives were changing is also touched upon, together with how the suffragette movement is gaining momentum.

While Carol Rivers does touch on many of the difficult situations and hardship the people at home were suffering, the novel does not focus too much on the serious aspects, there are many light moments.

The storyline kept me engrossed with characters that I cared about, some surprises, this is a well-written feel good book.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Available to buy from Amazon UK - Amazon US - Book Depository.

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About the Author



The East End of London,UK, is Carol's backdrop to her historical family dramas. She has been published with Simon&Schuster for a decade and has a well established presence on the internet. Her stories spring from the warm-hearted and resourceful people of the East End - the heart of London's docklands. Her writing is simple, but her rough-tough Cockney characters tell it like it is for them, giving a punch to the stomach and leaving the reader in no doubt that her heroines are a force to be reckoned with. Carol is well-known in the UK but is now building a steady readership in the States and welcomes feedback. Carol would especially like to thank all the Amazon reviewers who have gone to the expense and taken the time and trouble to buy, read and report on her books. She reads every one of the reviews and takes great heart and inspiration from all your comments. You can visit webpages, http://www.carolrivers.com to find out more about this author.

You can also follow Carol on twitter @carol_rivers

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