Book tour stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for A Village in the Country, a historical novel written by Elaine Spires.
First thing first, let me thank Rachel and the author for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
Change is in the air.
It’s November 1918 and the whole nation comes together to give thanks for the end of a bloody world war that has left few families unscathed. More than seven hundred thousand men have perished; those fortunate enough to return are mere shadows of the men who left. Women who have kept the country going by working in munitions factories and picking fruit and vegetables on farms and in market gardens are expected to give up their jobs to the men returning home. In the peaceful Essex village of Dagenham Milly Brightwell is among the women who are not happy at having to take a step back in peacetime as she dreams and makes plans of becoming her own boss.
But just as life returns to post-war normal, the London County Council announces its plans to build more than twenty-five thousand Homes for Heroes on the farmland and countryside surrounding Dagenham. Within the space of ten years the population will rocket to a hundred thousand people and the quiet country village will morph into the largest housing estate in Europe. For the families in Dagenham Village looking forward to better times in the 1920s, life will never be the same again.
Publication date: 18/08/21
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: Beautiful. I love the vintage feeling it gives – is this an old picture that got colorized via PSP?
A Village in the Country is the kind of book that blindsides you – in a quiet, unexpected way. It starts a bit unassuming, following Milly Brightwell and her family while WWI draws to an end. She’s eager to leave her job behind, to make something of herself now that the men are coming back home; to a various degree, the other female characters, from Elsie to Maudie, are ready to follow Milly’s path, too.
And so, the families of Dagenham go through a slow transformation. People come and go, secrets are revealed or kept hidden until the very end, while the village changes as well.
The stylistic choice of having entire families as MCs pays off: A Village in the Country, albeit slow-paced, is a compelling read because of it. The Brightwells, the Pages, the Woods, and the Williams have interesting traits, and they all contribute to the story. If I have to pick favorites, however, I’ll go for Godfrey, a good man who doesn’t deserve what life has in store for him, and Rose, whose determination to become a midwife is admirable.
Spires’ writing style is slow, as I already mentioned, and precise. It’s a good fit for the genre – well done!
The only thing I’m not sold on is the omniscient POV. Multiple POVs are okay if kept to different chapters; like this, it results in a constant POV switching, a detail that might hinder the flow. The POV and a few grammar imperfections prevent me from giving A Village in the Country five stars. Still, it’s a well-deserved four.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, actress and theatre director. In spite of travelling intensively and living in several countries – Spain, Greece and Antigua – she remains a proud Dagenham Girl and in 2017 returned to her roots. Elaine developed an eye for the quirky characteristics of people as she travelled, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with her readers in all her books. As well as the books listed below, Elaine has written several one-act plays and also the stage adaptation of her novel Singles’ Holiday which was performed at the Brentwood Theatre by Melabeau Productions. She wrote the Antiguan TV Series Paradise View for HAMA TV and Films and in 2019 her short film (co-written with Veronique Christie) Only the Lonely won the Gaucho Club Best Short Film Award and two silver awards at WOFFF (Women Over Fifty Film Festival) in the same year.
Elaine hopes you will enjoy looking further back in time with this book, to an era when Dagenham was simply A Village in the Country.
Also by Elaine Spires and available in paperback and on Kindle from amazon.co.uk
What’s Eating Me
Singles and Spice
Single All The Way
Singles At Sea
Singles, Set and Match
The Single Best Thing
The Banjo Book One
The Banjo Book Two
You Never See Rainbows At Christmas
Weak At The Knees & The Christmas Queen (novellas)
Holiday Reads & Holiday Reads 2 (short story collections)
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