Two wars, two affairs, one marriage. In October 1935, Edward Jamieson's memories of war and a passionate love affair resurface when an invitation to a WWI memorial ceremony arrives. Though reluctant to visit the scenes of horror he has spent years trying to forget, Edward succumbs to the unlikely possibility of discovering what happened to Helene Noisette, the woman he once pledged to marry. Travelling through the French countryside with his wife Ann, Edward sees nothing but reminders of war. After a chance encounter with Helene at the dedication ceremony, Edward's past puts his present life in jeopardy. When WWII erupts a few years later, Edward is quickly caught up in the world of training espionage agents, while Ann counsels grieving women and copes with the daily threats facing those she loves. And once again, secrets and war threaten the bonds of marriage.
I loved this novel. Being Belgian, you can't escape the two World Wars. In primary school, high school and even at uni. "History specials" on tv or in magazines are almost always about WWI or II. I almost lost interest in the entire subject, just because it's "all around you" while other parts of history are being forgotten. So it surprised me that M.K. Tod was able to get me this excited about the World Wars. I loved reading about it from a different (Canadian) perspective: it seems we Belgians often forget the amount of overseas troupes who 'came to the rescue'.
I also loved that it showed you both sides of the war: the political, the fighting in the trenches (to story we all "know" best), but also the human side. The struggles that go on in their private lives. How the war effects their relationships, but also what effect it has on their family and loved ones. It was very emotional to read about the heartache those who got 'left behind' had the endure: the mothers, fathers, wives, sisters, sons, daughters. To me, M.K. Tod's writing is a tribute to those 'silent victims' of the war. Those without memorial services or statues.