This review is long overdue as I read this book back in 2019, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to write blog posts for some reason! But if anything can bring me back, it’s this book!
In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.
A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.
Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…
Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide – and become one desperate struggle to be together.
This book is perfection. There aren’t really any other words to describe it. It has stuck with me long after finishing it because I just can’t stop thinking about it! It’s written in such a smooth and descriptive way that I could see everything so vividly in my head. From the hospital rooms to the trenches it felt like I was right there with the characters every step of the way.
The characters are all amazing, I love how real they all are even despite the fact that Louisa is in two different time periods. She seems to adjust so well every time she goes back in time. Another thing I emoji yes was how although she struggled in both times, she always had friends around her which I think was a really nice touch. She made friends quite easily, it didn’t matter whether she was an inpatient at a psychiatric hospital or a nurse near the front line.
I am a huge fan of the books/show Outlander and this book definitely has similar vibes. It also reminds me a little bit of the WW1 section of Downton Abbey, but I think that mostly just a time period similarity! This book does have a lot of themes within it, aside from the love story but that made me love it more. The characters where focused on more than just love and that definitely made them more likeable and real.
I am definitely planning on re-reading this book sometime in the future because I simply adored it. It has also been rereleased with a new cover so I might even buy a second copy to build up a little collection!
A definite 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
See you soon!