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HELEN SIMONSON was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she has spent the last three decades in the United States and currently lives in Brooklyn. She is married, with two grown sons, and is the author of the New York Times-bestselling debut novel, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. This is her second novel.
"A novel to cure your Downton Abbey withdrawal . . . a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community."--The Washington Post "What begins as a study of a small-town society becomes a compelling account of war and its aftermath."--Woman's Day "This witty character study of how a small English town reacts to the 1914 arrival of its first female teacher offers gentle humor wrapped in a hauntingly detailed story."--Good Housekeeping "Perfect for readers in a post-Downton Abbey slump . . . The gently teasing banter between two kindred spirits edging slowly into love is as delicately crafted as a bone-china teacup. . . . More than a high-toned romantic reverie for Anglophiles--though it serves the latter purpose, too."--The Seattle Times "[Helen Simonson's] characters are so vivid, it's as if a PBS series has come to life. There's scandal, star-crossed love and fear, but at its heart, The Summer Before the War is about loyalty, love and family."--AARP: The Magazine "At once haunting and effervescent, The Summer Before the War demonstrates the sure hand of a master. Helen Simonson's characters enchant us, her English countryside beguiles us, and her historical intelligence keeps us at the edge of our seats. This luminous story of a family, a town, and a world in their final moments of innocence is as lingering and lovely as a long summer sunset."--Annie Barrows, author of The Truth According to Us and co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society "Helen Simonson has outdone herself in this radiant follow-up to Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. The provincial town of Rye, East Sussex, in the days just before and after the Great War is so vividly drawn it fairly vibrates. The depth and sensitivity with which she weighs the steep costs and delicate bonds of wartime--and not just for the young men in the trenches, but for every changed life and heart--reveal the full mastery of her storytelling. Simonson is like a Jane Austen for our day and age--she is that good--and The Summer Before the War is nothing short of a treasure."--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun "A bright confection of a book morphs into a story of dignity and backbone. . . . This book is beautifully plotted and morally astute."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Simonson's second novel paints a sensitive, witty, luminous portrait of England at the outbreak of World War I."--Shelf Awareness "This novel is just the ticket for fans of Simonson's debut, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, and for any reader who enjoys leisurely fiction steeped in the British past."--Booklist From the Hardcover edition.