Juliet Greenwood studied English at Lancaster University and King s College, London. She began writing seriously about ten years ago, after a severe viral illness left her with debilitating M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for years. Juliet always says that M.E. was the worst, and the best, thing that ever happened to her. Juliet also writes stories and serials for magazines as Heather Pardoe . When not writing, Juliet works on local oral history projects, and helps aspiring writers towards being published."
In her new novel, Juliet Greenwood once again shows herself to be a fine historical writer with an ability to probe ordinary peoples responses to major global events and the cultural and social shifts they engender. Romance lies at the core of both We That Are Left and her previous novel, Edens Garden, making them perfect reads for relaxation, whether youre curled up by the fire in winter, or basking in the warmth of the summer sun. But they also have a depth that gives them more substance than a conventional romance and makes them a more fulfilling read. With its Cornish setting, a small country manor reminiscent of Manderley, and a young wife struggling to understand an older husband who clearly harbours secrets, We That Are Left bears more than a hint of Daphne du Maurier, but with the added ingredient of twenty-first century hindsight. The action opens on 1st August 1914, with rumours of impending war. A bi-plane flying in from France misses its route and has to make an emergency landing close to Hiram Hall, the lifetime home of Elin, who is now married to the gruff but generally kindly Major Hugo Helstone. To the amazement of Elin and her cousin Alice, who is staying with her, the pilot who steps from the bi-plane is a woman none other than Lady Margaret Northholme, who is famed for her exploits and has now won a bet by flying alone across the Channel and back. She brings news of evident preparations for war in France. As the world moves inexorably towards the horrors of the First World War, friendship blossoms quickly between the young women, and Lady Margaret or Mouse, as shes affectionately known introduces Elin and Alice to a group of young men and women who are kicking against convention and received gender roles. There are older people, too, who model different ways of being: Aunt Catrin, who has built an independent life for herself since losing her great love; Iris, who has faced the ignominy of divorce to free herself of an abusive husband; and Jack Treeve, the Boer War veteran turned conscientious objector. Greenwoods characters are warm and alive, flawed yet forgivable. The only exception is the sinister Mr Connors, and he... Well, youll have to read the book to find out for yourself. We That Are Left spans the four long, life-changing years of 1914-1918 and beyond, portraying the effects of the war not merely on the novels characters but on British society as a whole, capturing the final days of a passing era and way of life. It is beautifully written, wonderfully paced. There is romance, adventure and suspense. And there is, as in Edens Garden, quiet contemplation of the themes of grief, loss and loyalty, and of the way in which our past experiences shape our future selves. It is, quite simply, a riveting read. Suzy Ceulan Hughes It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council