Friday, 19 August 2016

Sing to Silent Stones - Violet's War By David Snell

When 19-year-old Violet falls in love with Frank, a clerk in the family firm, her father refuses to allow their relationship. The year is 1913 and the world is spiraling into war.  After Frank goes off to the Front, the unintended consequences of their romance catch up with Violet and her family. 
The dramatic events in Violet's life before, during and after the First World War are exhilarating, emotional and deeply affecting. Sing to Silent Stones: Violet's War is a story of love, illegitimacy and changing social attitudes. 
This epic family saga offers a view into the lives of girls and women who served as nurses in the Great War faced with struggles that are almost inconceivable to us today. (From the blurb)

I haven't read a lot of World War I novels and now David Snell has made me definitely want to read more. I've seen many films and TV shows/documentaries about the war but being able to read and get inside the characters head to experience it through their eyes I think is better. I feel the emotion a lot deeper and connect a lot more with the characters by seeing events solely through their eyes. 

Being a young adult myself, the same age as Violet. It was so interesting to read about what my life could have been like if I'd been born 100 years earlier. I loved that the book's main character was a woman. Often war novels focus on men, as men were the ones on the front line in the thick of the war but as this novel shows, women also faced hardships and had to adapt and harden. It's wonderful to learn more about women's roles.

Usually, the end of the war marks the end of the book. End of the war = end of the struggles. I liked that David didn't do this. Instead we got to carry on for over 10 years after the war ends and experience what happened afterwards, what the lasting effects were. This was great as its something that isn't talked of/ written about much. 

The size of the book might put  people off, it's a large book, coming in at 563 pages. I enjoy big  books but I know a lot of people don't. However, reading other reviews of the book, SO many say they were completely put off by the size but then couldn't put it down once they tried it. It might be big but it reads so easily, never having a drop in keeping your attention.

Everything feels so real while reading, the language and descriptions makes everything feel so authentic. David clearly did his research and makes it very easy for you to imagine the struggles faced by people during the war.
It was interesting to learn that both Davids parents were wartime pilots so a lot of the details in the novel are probably stories and facts they've told him which makes the story come alive and seem even more real. 

I would read this book again, and I'll definitely be picking up Volume Two.

4 Stars! 

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