The final stop on the We’ve Come to Take You Home blog tour, I am thrilled to bring you an insightful Q&A session with the author, Susan Gandar. I am extremely pleased to be hosting this as I adore this book! You can also read my review and a bio of Susan.
Every now and again I read a book that makes me feel so deeply it takes me a few days to move on from it, and it stays in my head (and my heart) for a long time. This is one of those books. For me, We’ve Come to Take You Home is an evocative and poignant portrayal of life during World War 1 and the links we have with our past and our ancestry.
I was immediately drawn to the book by the title and the cover. I can’t fully explain why, but something about them made me want to read this book.
Throughout the book we follow the lives of Sam, a teenager in present day and Jess, a teenager during World War 1. Told through third person narrative with chapters concentrating on one character, the reader is drawn in to the lives of both girls. You know that the two girls are inextricably linked despite being separated by life, death and time and this pulled me into the story further as I wanted to know what the connection was. As the book progressed I had an idea, however, the ending did not in any way disappoint. The parallels between Jess and Sam’s lives, while experienced differently, show us that our experiences are age old and transcend time.
Susan writes beautifully, with rich, vivid descriptions and touching prose. The horrors of World War 1, in particular for those left at home, jump out from the page;
‘The cottage was no longer a home: it was a tomb.’
It is written with great insight and it is clear that a lot of research was undertaken during the execution of this book. The emotions of those living through these experiences are felt by the reader intensely. The futility of their situation is heartrending. This is an extremely powerful read and during it I felt immense sadness. Susan writes in such a way that you cannot help but be affected by what is on the page. Jess’s tale is tragic and heart-breaking and throughout I was rooting for her.
Sam’s situation is also moving, just in a very different way. Her family are going through their own, more modern day difficulties. Sam’s is a story of self-discovery, learning to navigate through life, and the problems that can arise through the course of it and how the past actions of our forefathers impacts on the way we live today.
We’ve Come to Take You Home moved me profoundly. Beautifully written, heartbreaking and totally absorbing. I loved it. A perfect piece of historical fiction that will make you think and feel deeply. An accomplished debut novel, Susan is an author to look out for in the future. Very highly recommended.
Published 28 March 2016 by Troubador Publishing.
What I liked:original posting here : https://prettypurplepolkadots.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/blog-tour-weve-come-to-take-you-home-by-susan-gander/
The time travel element was amazing, and it was great to see how Sam overcame her fears and doubts as she travelled back 100 years.
This is also a fantastic family-focused book, and it’s clear how much both women love and respect their fathers.
This book is a great reflection of the “duty of care” people had back in the early 20th Century. Not only caring for her grieving mother, Jess is sent to be maid to the Major in London, and her experiences there mirror the treatment and life of a scullery maid at the time.
It also showed fantastically how the war affected people in their everyday lives and families – both Jess and the Major lost significant people in their families, and a potential relationship had to be out on hold while Tom went back to the war.
What I didn’t like:
The continuous switch between 1916 and present day did get a little confusing at times, and if it weren’t for the introductions at the beginning of the chapter I wouldn’t have been sure most of the time where the speaking point was.
Often these introductions were missing (most often for Sam’s chapters in the present day) so it was a little tough to decipher where we were. It sometimes didn’t become immediately clear.
Out of five:
Four. It may have gotten confusing at times, but this is a beautifully told story that will grip you from start to end. It will accommodate readers seeking suspense, action and romance, and it’s one you’ll find hard to put down.
Original posting at : http://thisisbeccasbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/blog-tour-book-review-giveaway-weve.html
Set amid war and devastation, this novel was packed with emotion, and it was powerful to experience war from a young girl’s perspective. It was sad and really struck a chord with me. Gandar’s emotional descriptions were spot-on and allowed me to take in these emotions as if they were my own. As the novel picked up and I was pulled further and further into this story, my eagerness to see how it would end was enough to have me racing through the final pages.
It’s time for another blog tour! Today is my stop on the tour for We’ve Come to Take You Home, a historical fiction/contemporary crossover novel by Susan Gandar. I was intrigued by the blurb so I couldn’t wait to take part in this tour. There’s also a giveaway for a signed copy of the book at the end of this post!
Historical fiction is one genre that I’m a little inexperienced in. I haven’t read many at all so whenever a book comes along within this genre I’m always a little skeptical – will I actually like it or will I be bogged down by any old-fashioned language or characterisations? We’ve Come to Take You Home, a novel which switches between contemporary and wartime narratives, proved that I really need to be less scared of historical fiction because I really enjoyed it.
The first narrative we get is of Sam, a young girl who really isn’t having a great time: her mother has asked her father to leave, and soon after he is involved in a car accident that sends him straight to Intensive Care. The second narrative happens several decades earlier, during the first world war. 15-year-old Jess and her family suffer from the devastating loss of her father when he is killed in battle, sending the rest of the family into poverty. Jess leaves for London to work as a maid in a Major’s home, working up to eighteen hours a day with no pay – can this life be better than her war-torn home?
I really enjoyed the characterisations and the depth in which the characters were written, especially in Jess’ narrative. I did wonder a few times throughout the story why Sam’s perspective was needed, though; I found myself getting far more engrossed and emotionally involved in Jess’ storyline, and less so with Sam’s. The switchover between the narratives was a little confusing to begin with too. It took me a few chapters to completely understand what was happening, but when I knew how it worked it was usually easy to distinguish between the two. The ending was a bit confusing as well and I had to re-read the last few chapters to get to grips with what happened. Overall, though, I really enjoyed the story once I understood it – I especially liked Jess’ story.
Another thing that I liked – and one feature that I usually like in novels – was the quick and snappy length of the chapters. Each chapter is no more than about four or five pages in length and it made me read the book very quickly.
If you’re looking for a book that has multiple perspectives, heart-wrenching emotion and great characterisations, this is definitely the book for you.
Wonderfully written, intricately plotted and powerful, We’ve Come to Take You Home is a breathtaking tale of family, friendship and the ties that bind that is guaranteed to hold you spellbound!
In 1916, the Great War has transformed and blighted the lives of families everywhere. Pain, anguish and heartbreak are emotions every one is familiar with and the Brown family are certainly no strangers to such feelings of despair. Thousands of men have been slaughtered on foreign fields, leaving wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and sweethearts mourning their loss. Jessica’s father is about to join the legion of men doing their duty for king and country. Despite the odds, her father manages to stay alive for a year after fighting for his country on the front line, but life is anything but easy on the home front. With poverty a cruel reality for most families, Jessica must steal food in order to keep her family from starving. However, there are bigger tragedies to come for Jessica and her family when a telegram arrives declaring that her father has been killed in action.
Four generations later, Sam Foster is in intensive care after her father is admitted with a suspected brain haemorrhage. Sam wants to be as far away from that hospital room as possible. When she is asked by a nurse to take her father’s hand, she immediately refuses. Haunted by disturbing dreams and frightening visions, Sam wants to be free from the shackles of the horrific torment she has found herself in. However, when her dreams start getting even more vivid, she soon realises that she is trapped and experiencing somebody else’s living nightmare…
Will Sam ever be freed from this unsettling experience? Or will she be condemned to a lifetime of fear, evil and terror?
An intelligent, thought-provoking and compelling tale that grabs you by the throat from the very first line, We’ve Come to Take You Home is an astonishing tale that packs plenty of emotional punch. Susan Gandar is a talented storyteller who effortlessly juggles two narratives and the dual compelling stories will leave you enthralled, shocked, startled and astonished. Her ability for bringing the past to vivid life is effortless and her descriptions about life during the First World War are visceral and effective without resorting to melodrama or cliche.
A fantastic story that is as hard to put down as it is to forget, We’ve Come to Take You Home is a highly recommended tale from a very gifted and talented writer – Susan Gandar!
There was a long, drawn-out sigh, followed by the tearing of the air, and the surrounding darkness was split by a flash of white light.
Sam expected to see the lights on the promenade twinkling off into the distance, the wings of the angel statue silhouetted against the moonlit
sky, the cliffs standing sentinel at either end of the town. But what she expected no longer existed.
Stretching out ahead was a vast wasteland; a filthy, oozing sea of mud studded with the blackened stumps of lifeless trees. Craters, filled with slimy water, touched and overlapped all the way to the horizon. Beaten down into this mess were scraps of equipment, helmets, rifles, coils of barbed wire, even a military tank.
A gold ring, embedded in a piece of rock, lay beside her feet. She looked more closely. The piece of rock wasn’t rock but a human finger. As she looked even more closely, the finger connected itself to a hand, a hand attached itself to an arm, a head stuck itself onto a neck, the neck onto a back with two shoulders. The bones jerked and a rat, as big as a cat, tore itself out of the ribcage of a man who used to be somebody’s husband. The sea of mud wasn’t that at all. It was a sea of blood and bones.
There were arms, legs, heads and hands, some still wearing clothes, some still with eyes and hair, layer upon layer of them. And the blood and the bones weren’t all dead. Some were still alive and still suffering. Their cries rose up all around her. A head lifted out of the mud. A pair of blue eyes blinked. And blinked again.
A hand reached out towards her.
I so enjoyed this timeslip novel of two different women facing very similar struggles. In 1916, Jessica Brown loses her father, whilst many years later, Sam Foster faces a similar fate as her father lies critically ill in hospital. The two girls’ stories become linked in magical ways that you just won’t see coming, making for an engaging and thrilling read.
Both Jessica and Sam’s points of view were distinctive and I connected with both characters equally. It was fantastic to see two such compelling stories woven into the one book and I really felt drawn into the world that Susan Gandar created. This read was a little outside my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I signed up to be part of this tour as it allowed me to read this quirky, charming book. The short, bite-sized chapters kept it pacey, while the characters and story drew me in immediately. I couldn’t for the life of me fathom how Sam and Jessica would meet, but it’s fair to say I was very impressed!
Have a read of this great book! You won’t regret it, that’s for sure.