Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Review: At the Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole

The acclaimed author of Letters from Skye returns with an extraordinary story of a friendship born of proximity but boundless in the face of separation and war.

Luc Crépet is accustomed to his mother’s bringing wounded creatures to their idyllic château in the French countryside, where healing comes naturally amid the lush wildflowers and crumbling stone walls. Yet his maman’s newest project is the most surprising: a fifteen-year-old Scottish girl grieving over her parents’ fate. A curious child with an artistic soul, Clare Ross finds solace in her connection to Luc, and she in turn inspires him in ways he never thought possible. Then, just as suddenly as Clare arrives, she is gone, whisked away by her grandfather to the farthest reaches of the globe. Devastated by her departure, Luc begins to write letters to Clare—and, even as she moves from Portugal to Africa and beyond, the memory of the summer they shared keeps her grounded.

Years later, in the wake of World War I, Clare, now an artist, returns to France to help create facial prostheses for wounded soldiers. One of the wary veterans who comes to the studio seems familiar, and as his mask takes shape beneath her fingers, she recognizes Luc. But is this soldier, made bitter by battle and betrayal, the same boy who once wrote her wistful letters from Paris? After war and so many years apart, can Clare and Luc recapture how they felt at the edge of that long-ago summer?

Bringing to life two unforgettable characters and the rich historical period they inhabit, Jessica Brockmole shows how love and forgiveness can redeem us.

 Hardcover, 336 pages
 Published May 17th 2016 by Ballantine Books
ARC via netgalley

I am not going to make the same mistake I did with Jessica Brockmole's previous book Letters from Skye. In that I waited a couple of years after it's release before I read it. I absolutely loved that book and was anxious to read this one. Though I must admit I went in a little cautious, only because my expectations were rather up there and I dreaded the thought of disappointment. Suffice to say I was not disappointed in the least.

Again I was treated to an entertaining and educational story taking place around World War I.  Beginning in 1911 the reader is introduced to 15 year old Clare Ross and the author was able to paint a picture of the life of this young girl before the war started, giving us the chance to get acquainted with her and her less than ideal situation.

Alternating between Clare and Luc and spanning 8 years the effects this war had is clearly shown, not just with physical but emotional scars as well.  What I loved here was the writing, again the author used letters to tell the story and again it worked perfectly.  Getting into the minds of both Clare and Luc and feel their despair, struggles and hopes were vividly shown here.

At the Edge of Summer is a book I highly recommend to fans of historical fiction, especially those taking place during WWI.  Thank you to Ballantine Books (via netgalley) for a complimentary copy for review purposes.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Margaret. I'm a sucker for a great historical fiction read but I mainly read about WWII, not WWI. I'll have to expand my reading horizons. :)