Title: Next to Love
Author: Ellen Feldman
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher for a TLC Book Tours tour
First line: In the year and a half Babe Huggins has worked for Western Union, she has been late only once before.
War….next to love, has most captured the world’s imagination. ~ Eric Partridge, 1914
Babe, Millie, and Grace have been friends since childhood, and yet nothing they experienced growing up can possibly prepare them for being married to soldiers. Their husbands are all involved in the Normandy invasion, and the lives of these three women will never be the same. Next to Love follows the three friends during the war years, and the decades that follow – decades that encompass a time of great change for our country. The upheaval in the country mirrors the upheaval in the women’s lives as they deal with their losses and the men in their lives.
Next to Love is character-driven historical fiction at its best. The three women are very different from one another. Each of them has her own way of dealing with the changes the war brings to her life. One thing that remains constant, however, is their friendship with and support for each other. I appreciated the way the women maintained their friendship in spite of very different backgrounds and different outlooks on the issues facing them, issues like racism and women’s rights.
After reading Feldman’s novel Scottsboro, I knew she was an author to watch. With Next to Love, she has become an author whose work I will never miss. She writes the stories of these three women with emotional authenticity and tenderness. While I identified with Babe more than the other two main characters, Feldman made me believe and understand each and every choice all three women made as they attempted to make something out of the shambles the war created of their lives.
The prologue of Next to Love is some of the most powerful writing I’ve read; I knew as soon as I finished it that this novel would be something special, and I wasn’t disappointed.
After the war, they wrote and promised and prayed. After the war we’ll do this or that or another thing. After the war we’ll be together. After the war we’ll be happy. After the war we’ll be safe. In all their dreaming of after the war, they never dreamed there is no after to war. ~ p. 291
The publisher is offering a copy of Next to Love to one of my readers.
~ This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada.
~ One entry per person, please.
~ To enter, please fill out the form below.
~ All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST, August 12, 2011. I will draw a winner on Saturday, August 13th (approximately). 🙂