The novel spans decades. Peter’s return home is tumultuous–though he misses Elizabeth, one night of drunken sex back in Mississippi results in a crisis and a hasty wedding. Finally, many years after he last saw Elizabeth, Peter contacts her in hopes for a chance to reconnect. Nicols seamlessly depicts the historical events surrounding World War I and the debilitating conditions faced by soldiers on the battlefield, but despite ample physical descriptions of the characters and colorful accounts of their youthful exploits, he largely avoids exploring their emotional depth. However, the relationship between Peter and Elizabeth, a primary focus of the plot\, is well-developed as their innocent flirtation escalates into a full-blown romance.
Nicols’s use of rural Mississippi vernacular common during the early part of the 20th century is spot-on and adds realism, and his familiarity with small-town life gives readers a convincing window into the characters’ existence. The narrative is fast-paced and immersive, and while the language is not highly descriptive, its concision is welcome. Fans of long lost love will appreciate the sincere bond between Peter and Elizabeth as they navigate the ups and downs of rediscovering each other.
Takeaway: An endearing story of an American World War I veteran who, despite the passage of time, cannot forget a British nurse.
Great for fans of: Lauren Willig’s Band of Sisters, Ann Howard Creel’s Mercy Road.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A