Historical Novel Society Review of ‘We’ve Come to Take You Home’
We’ve Come to Take You Home Review
This debut takes us into the lives of two 15-year-old girls: Sam Foster, who lives in modern-day England, and Jess Brown, who lived during the Great War. The lives of the two girls become entwined when Sam begins to remember and experience Jess’s life.
While Sam is dealing with the usual angst of a modern teen, her father becomes hospitalized, and her time-slips become more intense. Jess is coping with the hardships and losses of the war. The author does a great job of planting the reader in the gore, horror and sadness of WWI. People suffered on the Home Front, too, Jess’s family in particular undergoing wrenching hardship. Jess copes by reluctantly stealing bread, and is eventually sent by her mother to the city to become a maid of all work. While there, she falls in love and the consequences of her love story set up the situation into which Sam is drawn.
Given the premise of a modern girl finding herself in the life of someone who lived one hundred years before, I expected a great novel. And there are scenes that are very moving. However, at times over-description took me out of the flow of the story. In one scene, “She [Sam] pulled open the front door, ran down the steps, down the path, through the gate and out onto the pavement.” Another time, describing Sam’s favorite place, the author lists every point of interest. That much description was too much for me. However, with Ms. Gandar’s background in television, I can see how a camera would catch those details.
Be sure to pay attention so that the ending will make sense. I was expecting something more profound to have put the two girls together and was left feeling let down, although I admit I did cry.