I love short stories and I love historical fiction, and I have a particular weakness for stories set during this time period, an era of marked upheaval as many of the scientific and technological advances that were seen to be improving society were unleashed on the battlefield.
The stories contained in this novel also include works by Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig, whose historical fiction I enjoy so much.
But perhaps the nicest thing about this short story collection is that I got to discover new authors of historical fiction.
ll stories are connected to Armistice Day, and precisely the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (November) that marks the cessation of the fighting. The collection worked well with this common thread. Some of my favorites included:
Hazel Gaynor’s Hush, which focuses on the harrowing first minutes of life of a newborn struggling to live. As the midwife desperately attempts to save the baby only minutes from the end of the Great War, she reflects on the deaths and tragedies experienced by the village – and within her own family – during the course of the war.
In Jennifer Robson’s moving All for the Love of You, Daisy, a young American living in Paris, makes a disturbing discovery following her father’s death regarding a hopeful suitor for her hand her father had turned away without her knowledge. She reflects on the war years when she met the besotted young man, and many like him, back when she worked in a studio creating face masks to cover the burns and severe scarring these returning soldiers suffered in the war.
Lauren Willig’s The Record Set Right shifts between Kenya and England in 1980 and an episode in 1918, a spark of youthful pride that causes a rupture that unfolds over decades and forces an attempt at reconciliation as death grows near.
An enjoyable short story collection told mostly (though not exclusively) through the eyes of female protagonists, all by women authors.