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‘Remembrance Day’ By Leah Fleming

 

REMEMBRANCE DAY

‘As a new millenium dawns, only 100-year-old Selma Bartley knows the secret behind a Yorkshire village’s refusal to honour it’s war dead…

One summer’s day in 1913, a brush with tragedy irrevocably binds the fates of two families forever.

A year later, and West Sharland sends it’s men off to fight. Blacksmith’s daughter Selma Bartley is left to manage both the family business and her blossoming feelings for aristocrat Guy Cantrell.

When Guy is wounded in battle, his identical twin Angus takes his place, unbeknownst to his brother. But reckless Angus’s actions in France result in catastrophe for the Bartley family, hundreds of miles away in West Sharland.

Overnight, the village turns against the Bartleys and, urged on by her distraught parents, Selma is forced to make a new life in America .

Horrified at his brother’s actions, Guy ends up in Pennsylvania, with a new identity and a sense of peace that has previously eluded him.

But years later, with war again on the horizon, secrets are resurrected, reuniting Selma and Guy – and the names of the dead must be uttered once more….

A mesmerising tale about how a landmark moment in history affected the lives of so many…’

Clicking on the book’s cover image, will take you directly to its Amazon ‘buy’ page.

Check out those all important first lines here

LEAH FLEMING

Image of Author Leah Fleming

LEAH FLEMING
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Leah Fleming was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, to Scottish parents.
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After University, her first career was in teaching, with subsequent jobs including: catering from a market stall and delivering stress management courses and counselling inside the NHS. It was only after moving to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, with her husband and four children, that Leah finally found her true calling, as a storyteller.
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She was short listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year in 1998 and for The People’s Choice Pure Passion Award 2010 for Remembrance Day.
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Her epic tales cover centuries and many generations with a strong sense of place and time. The Captain’s Daughter, a Titanic drama won the 2012 Premio Roma Award for Translated Fiction. The Girl Under The Olive Tree has been translated into at least 4 languages.
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Leah continues to live for much of the time in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, but spends part of the year working on her next storyline, from an olive grove, on her favourite Greek island of Crete.
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To write well you have to punch above your weight, reading authors far more skilled than you will ever be. Quality will out and I hope by osmosis some of it will seep through into my own prose. If I ever stop reading for pleasure, escape or instruction, that will be the time to quit writing too.
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Catch up with all Leah’s latest news at her website
Follow Leah on Twitter
Connect with Leah on Facebook
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MEMORABLE WORDS

WHO MADE THE LAW?‘ by LESLIE COULSON

Who made the law that men should die in meadows?

Who spake the word that blood should wash in lanes?

Who gave it forth that gardens should be bone-yards?

Who spread the hills with flesh, and blood, and brains?

“What was denied us? The freedom to love where you find it, despite class, religion and nation. Theirs is this new world. Surely their love and happiness are all that matter now?”

“Time and silence quieten all the gathered assembly now the sacred moment of remembrance is here at last. What is there to pray but rest in peace … As long as this stone stands, none of you will ever be forgotten”

MY THOUGHTS

‘LEST WE FORGET’

When I started reading this book, I was immediately taken back to my reading experience and the writing style, of Kate Morton’s ‘The House At Riverton’, in as much as the composition and presentation techniques, and the tone and content of the writing, are quite similar. The story is told as one of the final acts of an elderly person, as a series of memories that are being recounted almost as a living testament, an atonement for wrong doings of long ago.

The main characters in this tragic and moving saga, are so well developed, with their own unique and recognizable personalities and traits, that it is sometimes hard to forget that this is a work of fiction and not fact, although fact is very much present throughout, woven skillfully into the fabric of the story.

There is some well researched material, about both the first and second World Wars and the Christian Anabaptist Mennonite communities, specifically those in the Pennslvania area of the US, in the mid to late 1900’s.

The human spirit is examined closely in the two young protagonists, one from each side of the social divide, in the early to mid 1900’s. Class distinction and community social status is still at its post colonial heyday, forcing them apart and attempting to define their destinies.  Family loyalties are tested to the limit and found lacking by this new generation of young people, who are trying to shun the conventions and bridge the gap of the ‘class war’, but are born just too soon for this revolution in social attitudes. Then, when they are eventually reunited, in the strangest of circumstances, are they still the same people, with that same strong and true spirit that they once were?

There is also some interesting social commentary, which touches on the conscience of a nation, if not a World.  About the punishment World War 1 soldiers received for the military offence of desertion and how the families of the executed personnel were treated here at home. The shame and humiliation felt by a shattered, hard working  chapel going family from the village, is well constructed within the story, along with the jealousy and revenge seeking tactics for imagined wrongs and injustices as perceived by the gentry, who, unwilling to face up to their own failures and shortcomings, hide behind the lower ranks when justice is meted out.

It is clear however, that war is no class discriminator, but a leveller, taking the lives of sons, fathers, brothers and husbands, without distinction. So we start to see the closing of the social divide and the effect that it has on all members of a society, but is it already too late for our young couple, torn apart and flung asunder, whilst at home jealousy has been tempered with humility, shame surpassed by the final parting of a loved one, and a community’s humiliation stunned to silence?

The ending may have been predictable to a point, but the final twists and turns in this lifelong saga, were left unrevealed until the last moment, with the lead up to the final revelations being well managed, realistic and credible.

An excellent, intense, moving and very satisfying story, that captured my imagination and held me spell-bound, until the very last page.

This book was a paperback charity shop purchase. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
  • A very nice review and your opening sentence is enough to make me seriously consider putting this on my wish list. I love Kate Morton’s books and have read all but her latest (which I’ve just ordered).

    • Thanks for your kind words of encouragement Kelly, I appreciate them 🙂

      I am assuming that it is ‘The Lake House’ which you have recently ordered?

      Given that, on Goodreads alone, this book has received over 5,000 ratings and its average is over 4 out of 5 stars, it has definitely made my ‘Want To Read’ list, especially as so many of my Goodreads friends have recommended it.

      Leah Fleming is quite a prolific author, writing an eclectic mix of contemporary, wartime and historical novels. Her latest work, due to be published in Autumn 2016, is a Second World War storyline, ‘Dancing At The Victory Cafe’, focusing on the stifling morality of a 1940s Midlands town, when the American army are welcomed with open arms by the local young females.

      I hope that you enjoy ‘Remembrance Day’ if you decide to read it 🙂

    • Hi Cleo,

      Leah is one of those authors who can write successfully, whichever genre she chooses and in whatever time period she decides to set her story. I should imagine that well rounded and defined authors of this quality, are quite difficult to find.

      I hope that you enjoy this book, should you decide to add it to your reading list.

      I also enjoy Kate Morton’s writing style and would love to have the time to explore her stories further.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it 🙂

  • Ooh I do like a good historical novel, add to which the mystery surrounding the secret of this Yorkshire village really appeals to me.

    Great review, you have also sold this one to me despite the comparison with The House At Riverton which I didn’t particularly enjoy.

    Very hot here in the north east Yvonne, I hope you aren’t suffering too much.

    • Hi Tracy,

      34 degrees yesterday, was a little too steamy for me, I’m afraid. I do like to see the sunshine, however I consider myself to be much more of a spring and autumn person.

      Secrets, lies, prejudice, blame – you name it and practically every human emotion manifests itself in the single, small community of West Sharland. Only when it is too late, are amends made and forgiveness sought.

      I think that, despite so many others being of the same opinion about the similarities between Leah Fleming’s writing and storybuilding techniques and those of Kate Morton, author of ‘The House At Riverton’; from my own personal perspective, the two are more aligned in the way the story is told to the audience and by whom. I don’t therefore believe that if you didn’t enjoy the Kate Morton book, you will necessarily have the same opinion of Leah Fleming’s writing.

      Thanks for taking the time out to read my review and leave a comment. I always appreciate reading your thoughts and views

  • So this looks like one I’ll be adding to my to-read list. I enjoyed your thoughtful review.

    I plan to soon read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, set among women in the French Resistance during WWII. I think I’ll need to prepare for it a bit mentally because I’ve heard that it’s gut-wrenching. But also a good read.

    • Hi Hila,

      It does sound as though you might enjoy reading a good wartime historical novel, so I can truly recommend ‘Remembrance Day’ as one for your list. Thank you for your kind comment about the review, I appreciate it 🙂

      I keep promising myself that I won’t add any more books to my groaning TBR pile, however ‘The Nightingale’ sounds so good and has received such excellent ratings and reviews, that I just couldn’t refuse. I fact I could just have easily added all the titles by Kristin Hannah to my list, she is definitely an author I shall be following on Goodreads.

      Enjoy the book 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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