Saturday, June 28, 2014

100 years ago today it began, World War I books to read

One hundred years ago on June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg were assassinated in Sarajevo by a teenage assassin marking the beginning of World War I.  It is interesting to note that the assassin had a statue placed in his honor this week in Sarajevo in honor of this 100th anniversary.  Read more about what happened here.  Most things in this world are a matter of perception I suppose.  This event sparked what was once called The Great War because they couldn't believe that it could happen again.  The Great War was fought at great sacrifice with many lives lost and many others damaged forever.  I was able to visit the World War I Museum in Kansas City which gave me a new perspective and greater respect and understanding for my grandfather's experience in France.

Jacqueline Winspear, who's father fought in The Great War, has written many books based on or just following this war.  I have loved reading her "Maisie Dobbs" series of mysteries.  I just finished her latest book which will be officially released on Monday.  It is not a part of the Maisie Dobbs series.
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenb

The reason that I have already finished "The Care and Management of Lies" is that it was loaned to me by my book blogging DIL who received an advanced reader copy or ARC of the book for review.

Jacqueline Winspear's book is the story of a young couple married shortly before the war begins.  The new wife has also been a long time best friend of her husband's only sister as they were school mates.  The new husband is a farmer in Kent, his sister is a school teacher, suffragist and peace protester, while the new wife is former school teacher now farmer's wife who is struggling in her new role.

Jacqueline, in describing her inspiration for the book, cites the incredible mail system that was created during this war.  Tons of mail made its way to France and Belgium from England in a couple of days.  Much of the book is based on the letters between the young couple after the young man decides to join up leaving his wife to supervise the farm which now will also be used to help with providing food for the effort.

I love the British version of the cover for this book showing two people in completely new roles.  The letters to the husband at war include descriptions of wonderful meals the wife would like to share with her husband, while he writes sanitized versions of his experience, both trying to protect the other.

I also recently finished this book, " A Star for Mrs. Blake," which is the story of Gold Star Mothers, who through a government sponsored program, are provided a journey to France to visit the battle fields and graves of their now deceased sons.  The ships carry a diverse group of women from different parts of the United States which makes for great story telling as do the stories of those who accompany as guides and helpers.

So one hundred years ago today, as it states on the side of a museum at the corner where the assassination in Sarajevo to place, marks the beginning of the 20th Century.

No comments: