Review: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

Posted 1 March, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War
By: Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via Edelweiss

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month…

November 11, 1918. After four long, dark years of fighting, the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed. For soldiers, loved ones, and survivors the years ahead stretch with new promise, even as their hearts are marked by all those who have been lost.

As families come back together, lovers reunite, and strangers take solace in each other, everyone has a story to tell.

In this moving anthology, nine authors share stories of love, strength, and renewal as hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

I first heard of this anthology from Heather Webb’s Twitter, one of the writers included in this collection. The setting is familiar, but the collection of authors featured here is pretty impressive, ranging from authors I’ve read (Heather Webb, Jennifer Robson) and authors I’m familiar with but never read (Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig). This anthology will be available on 01 March 2015.

Fall of Poppies is a pretty solid anthology featuring interesting stories that focus on different aspects of experiences and events of the first World War: characters who witnessed atrocities firsthand and their aftermath, soldiers enduring lifelong scars, characters adrift as the world enters the glamour and optimism of the Roaring Twenties. Couples come together, couples are driven apart, children are lost, home is nowhere to be found. All the stories featured here kept my attention for various reasons: the writing, the storytelling, the characters, the themes of memory, the war, rebuilding lives.

While this collection was pretty solid, I do have my favourite stories. “The Record Set Straight” by Lauren Willig was a favourite, probably because it was a bit sadder than the others I read, there’s a sense of melancholy, resignation, and acceptance of things that had happened in the past and lost opportunities that came as a result of decisions made. Jennifer Robson’s “All for the Love of You” on the flipside was lovely and hopeful. Jennifer Brockmole’s “Something Worth Landing For” was something different, a marriage borne out of necessity than from love (at least initially), not to mention a good B-plot involving John’s strained relationship with his mother. Plus, I love a good story involving epistolaries 🙂

Overall Fall of Poppies was a great collection of stories from some fantastic writers who brought the period and the various struggles that went with it to life. Readers of historical fiction and of short stories will want to check this out.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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