Books about war

The Longest Winter, by Kevin Sullivan

Sarajevo 1992. The country is at war, with neighbour fighting neighbour, the government is powerless and the city is under siege. Terry is a British doctor who has travelled into this warzone to rescue a young boy who needs immediate evacuation for life-saving surgery in London. Brad is an American journalist, desperately trying to salvage his reputation after the disastrous ending to his last posting. Milena fled her home and her husband in Eastern Bosnia when the fighting started. She now lives and works in the besieged city, barely getting by. In the aftermath of the assassination of a government minister, these three lives become ever more entangled as the situation worsens around them. Read More »

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Miss Benson’s Beetle, by Rachel Joyce

Margery Benson is a middle-aged spinster, with no living family, working a dead-end job teaching ungrateful children about domestic science in the aftermath of WWII. In a blinding moment of clarity, she quits her job and decides to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. She will journey to New Caledonia, on the other side of the world, in search of a rare golden beetle that may or may not exist.
But she cannot hope to do all of this alone. She will need an assistant for her expedition! Enid Pretty is probably the last person Margery would want accompanying her, but she is her only option. In her vibrant pink travelling suit, Enid could not be more different from dowdy and dumpy Miss Benson, and the two women do not exactly hit it off. But when faced with circumstances neither of them could have imagined, both women discover untapped strengths within themselves and a very unlikely friendship. Read More »

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Small Island, by Andrea Levy

Gilbert Joseph joined the RAF during WWII, along with thousands of other Jamaicans, to fight for the “Mother Country”. Returning to England after the war, Gilbert finds a changed world and one in which his service to his mother country is not recognised or appreciated. In desperation, he turns to one of his only friends in England, Queenie Bligh. Queenie’s neighbours do not approve of her taking in Jamaican lodgers, but what else can she do? Her husband has not returned from the war, even though it has been over for three years now. She is alone in a big house and needs the money. She also has a secret, one which makes her more inclined towards being kind to coloured people than most of her neighbours.
The war may be over, but at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Read More »

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Bombs and Bougainvillea: An Expat in Jerusalem, by L. E. Decker

Linda and her family were no strangers to moving to unusual places. As expats living in places such as Dubai and Jordan, they faced a good number of obstacles and difficult situations. But one of their more challenging postings turned out to be Jerusalem. Moving your family into a very unsettled part of the world must have been a daunting task. Getting used to the checkpoints and constant military presence, whilst at the same time getting to grips with the multitude of Jewish holidays and traditions must have been exhausting. Imagine having to have an emergency exit plan in case the political situation turned bad! Read More »

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Melmoth, by Sarah Perry

One winter’s night in Prague, Helen Franklin has a chance meeting with her friend Karel. But all is not right with him, he seems deranged and jumpy. It turns out that Karel has come into possession of a mysterious manuscript, which he then entrusts to Helen.
The manuscript itself is accompanied by various letters and testimonies. These stretch from 17th century England, to wartime Czechoslovakia, 1920s Turkey and Manila. Varied as they are, these accounts all have one common aspect: all tell of being followed by a tall, mysterious woman dressed all in black – Melmoth. Read More »

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