About the Book
Me Before You meets The English Patient in this stunning romantic novel from award-winning author Melanie Hudson.
This is a note to yourself, Juliet.
You must keep the memories alive, because once upon a time you told a man called Edward Nancarrow that you would, and it’s important to keep that promise.
A daring WWII pilot who grew up among the clouds, Juliet Caron’s life was one of courage, adventure – and a love torn apart by war. Every nook of her Cornish cottage is alive with memories just waiting to be discovered.
Katherine Henderson has escaped to Cornwall for Christmas but she soon finds there is more to her holiday cottage than meets the eye. And on the eve of Juliet’s 100th birthday, Katherine is enlisted to make an old lady’s final Christmas wish come true…
Inspired by the brave women of the Air Transport Auxiliary service during the Second World War, this is a moving and powerful novel of friendship, love and resilience.
What I thought
Where to start. This was a bit of a departure from the previous two novels I’ve read by Melanie Hudson in that it falls into the historical fiction genre. I have read a few books set in wartime and always seem to really enjoy them. Even so when I first saw the book cover and read the blurb I was taken a little by surprise, and dare I say a teeny bit doubtful as to whether I’d like it quite as much as the other two books.
This is Melanie Hudson though, how could I have doubted that it wouldn’t be quite my kind of book.
It was absolutely bloody brilliant, outstripping all expectations.
It’s set in two time periods and based in Cornwall. I never realised that Cornwall had any kind of role during WWII, but with its close proximity to Europe, it certainly played its part.
In the present, it starts out with Katherine, a widow still trying to come to terms with the loss of her husband. She’s invited to Cornwall to spend Christmas in the company of her uncle and as she’s an academic to help settle a village dispute as to whether the village name should be apostrophised. Apostrophe’s – it would appear they cause headaches for everyone and I thought it was just me.
She goes to stay in the cottage belonging to their oldest villager Juliet. Fast approaching her 100th birthday Juliet now lives in a care home much to her disapproval, but needs must.
Whilst Katherine is staying at Juliet’s cottage she stumbles across the memoirs of Juliet and once she starts reading becomes engrossed in this lady’s story. The memoirs form the bulk of this book; a story of love, bravery, loss, friendship and camaraderie and above all, a great zest for life – to never waste a single moment and to always have faith that things will turn out right.
The writing and dialogue is very evocative of 1940’s Britain. It was sometimes so real it was like watching an old black and white war film and I’d find myself reading the dialogue in the voices of those old movie actors speaking with their cut glass accents.
I could almost smell the aviation fuel as Juliet and her friends of the Air Transport Auxiliary prepared for flying their planes and took to the skies, often in poor weather conditions and always with an eye out for the enemy planes that could take them out at any moment.
I’d often find myself singing “We’ll Meet Again” at random moments through the day, it’s just one of those books that you become a part of whilst you’re reading it.
There’s so much in there. Action, heartache, tears, laughter and a big helping of romance. A stunning read that will stay with me for quite some time.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
The book is published on Kindle on Friday (23 August) and you can pre-order it now on Amazon. With thanks to One More Chapter publishers for an advanced copy of this book
Photo credit for Spitfire – Tricia Winwood from Pixabay