The Great War is over but Britain is still to find peace and its spirit is not yet mended.
Edward and William have returned from the front as changed men. Together they have survived grotesque horrors and remain haunted by memories of comrades who did not come home. The summer season in Margate is a chance for them to rebuild their lives and reconcile the past.
Evelyn and Catherine are young women ready to live to live life to the full. Their independence has been hard won and, with little knowledge of the cost of their freedom, they are ready to face new challenges side by side.
Can they define their own future and open their hearts to the prospect of finding love?
Will the summer of 1920 be a turning point for these new friends and the country?
I offered to take part in this blog tour hosted by Anne Carter and I’m glad to say I’m very happy I did. Thank you to Anne from Random Books Tours and Paul Marriner for the review copy. All opinions are my own.
This book is set after the First World War. It follows Edward and William who have come back from fighting the war and are trying to deal with what they have faced,and how it has affected them.It also focuses on Evelyn and Catherine who are trying to move on with their lives. It is about all these characters trying to cope with the reality of what happened and trying to live a normal life.
It starts of in 1940, and we follow Patrick and you don’t understand the significance of that until later on in the book. I completely missed the significance until a 200 pages in but if you paid attention, you would catch it early on. After this, it switches to 1920 where you’re following the four main characters. It focuses on Edward and Evelyn significantly as you follow them around but the other characters are also around and you get to know them.
I liked learning about the different characters and how they coped. I loved Edward and seeing how he dealt with the face injury he had,which meant he had to wear a tin mask. He is very self conscious of it because people see his mask before anything else.He is a complicated character with a lot of secrets and regrets. It was heartbreaking to see him in pain and suffering the way he did.He is a Pianist and is seen to be playing the piano on numerous occasions and you can see how much he loves it. I was rooting for him throughout the book. William is more carefree and although he cares about Edward and is a good friend, I think sometimes he could be insensitive.I loved both Evelyn and Catherine and and how they befriended both Edward and William and cared about them. I also loved Evelyn and Catherine’s friendship and seeing where life took them. They were only characters but they felt very real to me.
I was immersed in this book as the writing style was easy to follow. I enjoyed following the characters in their day to day life. I got to know the characters in depth. It was obviously a very sad but insightful book. I loved that you got real life events interwoven with the story. It shows that the author really did their research and throughout the whole book I felt they did it really well. I could feel the pain of the people and could see what they were going through. I was sad to finish the story, I didn’t want it to end. By then end, I also understood why the book is called The Blue Bench.
I was in tears by the end of the book and I know I will be thinking about this book for years to come. I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommended it . I especially recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction and character driven stories.
About the author
Paul grew up in a west London suburb and now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two children. He is passionate about music, sport and, most of all, writing, on which he now concentrates full-time. Paul has written four novels and his primary literary ambition is that you enjoy reading them while he is hard at work on the next one (but still finding time to play drums with Redlands and Rags 2 Riches).
Other people on the blog tour: